‘What’s your name?’ is about the signature Starbucks act of writing your name on your cup; an everyday gesture many of us take for granted, but which can be a significant act of acceptance for transgender people on a journey of self-identity. The film tells the story of a young trans man facing the everyday challenge of repeatedly being called a name he doesn’t identify with – even by family. It culminates with him trying out his chosen name for the first time at a Starbucks store, by asking to have the name James written on a cup, which is called out by a barista.
Please tell us how the brand purpose inspired the work
Starbucks’ purpose since its inception has been to ‘Nurture the human spirit, one cup, one person and one community at a time’. This was about care. Care for the coffee it serves and care for the people that frequent their stores, from partners (staff) to customers. Warm-spirited service on a first name basis is what Starbucks brought to the UK and the ‘third place’ they offered between home and work was one of comfort and safety. It is this sentiment that lead to ongoing support of the LGBT+ community. And with a 81% increase in hate crime against the Trans community in the UK in the last year, the conversation around identity needed to be opened up. The narrative of the film is based on true stories of Trans people trying out their name in Starbucks stores. This authentic brand experience is at the heart of the campaign.