Channel 4

Starbucks #WhatsYourName

Starbucks won our annual Diversity in Advertising Award in 2019 (on air in 2020) with this emotive spot which sensitively backed the transgender community and garnered international attention.

The Big Idea

Channel 4's Diversity In Advertising Award is an established industry scheme designed to encourage greater and more authentic representation of diverse UK communities through mainstream UK television advertising. Running since 2016, the award offers an annual £1million airtime prize, to be awarded to the brand who best responds to our revolving diversity brief.

In 2019, a large Channel 4 research project identified LGBT+ communities as those who experience the most stereotyping and under-representation within advertising - it also happened to be the the year in which Stonewall marked 50 years since the Stonewall riots, leading to vast imrpovements in LGBT rights. So, we focused our 2019 Diversity In Advertising award on the representation of LGBT+ communities in advertising. Ultimately, a clever creative idea from Iris Worldwide led to them winning the award for Starbucks, with this creative execution that portrayed the experiences of a trans character.

We are proud to have been recognised by the Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising award and we were moved to discover that individuals find our stores a safe space to try out their new names when transitioning. [Alex Rayner, General Manager Retail, Starbucks]

Making it Happen

The clever creatives at Iris Worldwide conceived and delivered this campaign, here's what they said about how it came about:

Based on the insight that only 0.3% of TV adverts feature a transgender person, despite the community making up an estimated 1% of the population, we saw an opportunity for Starbucks to re-ignite itself as a progressive brand, by building on its strong heritage with the LGBT+ community.

The integrated brand campaign, #whatsyourname, focuses on the importance of identity and acceptance. It takes Starbucks’ signature act of writing people’s names on cups and brings that to life in the most powerful way.

It builds on an insight that members of the transgender community often try out their new identity for the first time in a Starbucks store – an open and safe space where they feel welcomed. Whilst an everyday interaction for many, giving your name to a barista for the transgender community becomes a truly significant moment as they are recognised as who they want to be.

Using the £1 million media awarded from Channel 4 we were able to give airtime to this under-represented community and tell their unique stories.

The Results

The campaign received widespread praise from across the UK, with massive PR attention and strong endorsement from prominent LGBT rights organisations and publications.


The campaign has also won numerous awards, including a coveted D&AD Pencil, and several Creative Circle awards.