Campaign Spotlight

Campaign Spotlight: Starbucks asks “What’s Your Name?” with Iris Worldwide to Celebrate the Identity of Transgenders

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Starbucks is iconic for many reasons, but mainly for how they gain free publicity on the internet with every name they misspell on their coffee cups. But the global coffee brand’s latest ploy on names is not one that would be posted as a misheard or a misspelled scribble, but a name that is welcoming of the chosen identity of its customers.  

Dead name is the birth name of a person who has undergone name change, although the term is mostly associated to people who have undergone transition. As they choose to embrace their true identity, they can finally choose the name that represents who they are or who they want to be.  


The hero advert was the story of James, who never identified with his birth name Jemma. We follow him into several instances where he gets called by “Jemma.” Finally, he walks into a Starbucks and he has the chance to say his name honestly and for the first time, a smile lights up on his face: James.

The video was also followed by three shorter variations: Eliza, Cairo, Otto, and Nicole; whose short monologues explain their attitude towards their names or the reason why they chose that name in the first place.

On being called their preferred name, one said it means a lot because “It was like they’re accepting me whereas my mom and certain family members couldn’t,” says Eliza.

For a people that has not yet been represented in the media archetypes, #WhatsYourName just might be the conversation starter the industry needs. It captures the struggle of being unrecognized; #WhatsYourName may be 30-seconders, but it speaks volumes for the community it resonates with.

The campaign was made by Iris Worldwide and directed by Nick Davies. It was the winner of Channel 4’ Diversity in Advertising Award.



Advertising Agency: Iris, UK
Grant Hunter
Eli Vasiliou
ACD Copy:
Eli Vasiliou
Senior Creative Art:
Richard Peretti
Other creative:
Giulia Frassine, Anny Heyden, Matt Gray
Account team:
Amy Bryson, Elisha Pearce, Stephen Bennett
TV producer:
Emily Hendrey
Agency Producer:
Richard Blaxill
Raj Thambirajah, Florence Evans
Art production:
Lu Howlett, Jody Brown, Paris Bennett
Vino Vethavanam
Peter Maynard, Olivier Darriet-Fisher, Oliver Rushton, Syd Harvey
Katrina Loosemore, Roger Norris, James Butt, Mollie Wade, Jess Leonard, Josh West, Nicole Vanner
Mike Tsang, Rebecca Ransom
Kevin Relf, Cat Wood
Beth Carroll, Tom Langan, Chaz Callingham-Woods
Production / Delivery:
Jennifer Clark, Adam Brocklebank, Guy Cain
Billy Thomas, Kyle Nagle, Tom Park, Murat Ince, Rebecca Koss
Business Affairs:
Katie Singer
Rachel Geraghty
Nicolas Jack Davies / Sweetshop
Ula Pontikos
Executive Producers:
Justin Edmund-White, Morgan Whitlock
Hannah Cooper
Art Director:
Scarlett Clifford
Post Production & Grade:
Time Based Arts
Anna Stark
Zebedee Budworth 

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