This blog is about a poignant campaign I came across a couple of years ago. It successfully struck the right chord and generated just the right amount of attention for them. The scene opens with a pensive young lady staring at her computer screen. Looks like she is about to fill up a form. She stares at the Name block for a while and exasperatedly puts away her laptop.
“Jemma Miller?” asks the mailman. We now know she is called Jemma. She reluctantly answers and receives the delivery. The montage continues- Jemma shudders every time her name is called. She can’t even bear to look at her ID card with her name on it. Her name seems to be a sore issue, even when her parent introduces her to a friend. We are left questioning the hatred this protagonist has for her name.
Cut scene to a coffee shop. We know an uncomfortable encounter is coming.
The barista asks, “And…what’s your name?”
‘Jemma Miller?’ asks the mailman.
We now know her name is Jemma. Jemma is still upset about something from last night. We don’t know what about. Subtle hints tell us that it’s got something to do with her name. A female voice on the PA, a friend on the phone, and her identity card all say ‘Jemma’, and she is not happy about it. Jemma stares hard at the mirror, examining her features. Even the fact that her parent calls her Jemma, makes her flinch.
Cut scene to a male voice asking, ‘And… what’s your name?’
She answers, “It’s James.”
The barista promptly writes and hands ‘James’ the Starbucks cup with his name on it. For the very first time, we see the protagonist smiling, finally at one with themselves. Jemma Miller was unhappy being a woman. She didn’t want to associate with being one. Jemma wanted to be recognized as James, an identity that felt natural. Starbucks’ Every Name’s a Story: #whatsyourname initiative poignantly told a tale of acceptance and having an identity of one’s own.
Like the protagonist, several in the world are transitioning. The change is difficult, and often emotionally taxing. With its unique tradition of writing names over cups, Starbucks welcomes everyone, irrespective of their associations.