2019: LGBT+ Representation Winner

Starbucks – Whats Your Name




0.3% of TV adverts feature a transgender person, despite the community making up an estimated 1% of the population

Iris Worldwide and Starbucks delivered an emotive campaign which smartly and sensitively backed the transgender community and garnered international attention.

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 improvements in LGBT rights.

So, we focused our 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. 

The story of the campaign

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, Iris saw an opportunity for Starbucks to re-ignite itself as a progressive brand, by building on its strong heritage with the LGBT+ community.

Starbucks is proud to have a long history of creating inclusive and welcoming places for the LGBT+ community. We have collaborated with IRIS London on a creative campaign that tells a powerful story for the LGBT+ community, and furthers a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity in our stores. We are honored to win this award and look forward to telling our story on Channel 4

Neil Littler, Marketing & Product Director – Starbucks

The integrated brand campaign, #WhatsYourName, focused on the importance of identity and acceptance. It took Starbucks’ signature act of writing people’s names on cups and connected it with an emotive identity issue for the transgender community.

It built on an insight that members of that 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.

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

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

Representation is so important, especially for the LGBT community who continue to be underrepresented or misrepresented in mainstream media. That’s why it’s great to see the media and advertising industry starting to address this gap, supported by initiatives like this award.

Sanjay Sood-Smith, Executive Director of Workplace and Community Programmes – Stonewall

The campaign has also won numerous awards, including a coveted D&AD Pencil, several Creative Circle awards and gold in the Creative Strategy category at Cannes Lions 2021 – one of only three golds awarded!

In a challenging cultural climate, with evidence of intolerance against the LGBT+ community on the rise, we’re delighted that the judges have selected our idea. Now, more than ever, we need to open the conversation around inclusion and diversity. This is a defining moment for Starbucks as it’s the first time a piece of film for broadcast has been created by the brand, specifically for a UK audience”

Grant Hunter, Executive Creative Director, Europe – Iris Worldwide

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Since 2016 we’ve given away over £6million of airtime to advertisers who best respond to our briefs. Check out their award-winning work here!

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