Can I Get a Name For That?

In January of 2020, Starbucks began a campaign called #whatsyourname. Starbucks is a company that prides itself on the “signature act and the significance it can have for some transgender and gender diverse people as they use their new name in public.” This campaign celebrates the idea that those who are transitioning into a new life can use their new name in a free and supportive space.

Starbucks partnered with Mermaids with the goal of raising at least 100,000 euros for their helpline. Mermaids is a charity founded in the UK that has been “supporting transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families since 1995.” This helpline has seen a 600% increase of use in the last five years, so the campaign already had some traction before the campaign began.

As part of this campaign, Starbucks featured the stories of several individuals transitioning into themselves publicly. These videos were showcased on Youtube along with their other social presences. We got to meet Cairo, Eliza, Nicole, and Otto as they share their story and the weight of the campaign leading them to comfort.

These videos occasionally mention the person’s dead name and show how they are called by that name daily at school or work or by their parents. Then, the videos show how they are able to walk into any Starbucks location and use their true name. This features an experience where these individuals may walk into any Starbucks and live their truth. It is empowering for these people to use their true names and be respected by any barista they may encounter.

On Instagram, the hashtag #whatsyourname currently has 72.2 thousand posts. However, upon a closer look on the company’s Instagram profile, I could not find a post showcasing the new campaign. The movement began in January 31, 2020, and there were no posts dedicated to the hashtag or cause. In February there is a post dedicated to #BlackHistoryMonth, but the Instagram page seems to skip over this entire cause.

If I could critique this campaign, I would have given it a presence that could not be missed on social media platforms. I would have created a social media creation calendar to show a combination of content describing the cause and user-generated content. Every post would have the hashtag #whatsyourname included. I would also implement some interactive Instagram stories. These could have polls and this-or-that questions to raise engagement on the platform. Additionally, I would work on creating a competition where individuals can enter for their own feature video on their story alongside the other YouTube stories.

I believe these methods would help with spreading the word on the campaign. Personally, I had not heard of this campaign and I consider myself a regular at the company as a customer. I would hope, for a company as large and successful as Starbucks, that they would make these successful campaigns more well-known next time. I hope to see their progress soon, and I wish I could have supported this campaign sooner.


Iris. #Whatsyourname. Iris. whatsyourname.

Mermaids. About Us. Mermaids. /.

Starbucks. Every Name’s a Story #whatsyourname. Starbucks. whatsyourname.



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Caroline Luethke

Caroline Luethke

Hello, I am a graduate student at the University of Florida obtaining my masters in Mass Communciation with a specialization in Global Strategic Communication.