Starbucks to sell mermaid cookies to raise £100,000 for UK trans charity

Starbucks to sell mermaid cookies to raise £100,000 for UK trans charity

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The James character in the Starbucks ad.

Starbucks UK has pledged to raise at least £100,000 for UK trans charity Mermaids by selling special edition mermaid cookies.

It comes as the coffee chain wins a £1million free advertising campaign from Channel 4. Starbucks won the free ad space by creating a trans story.

The commercial will screen for the first time on Saturday (2 February). Channel 4 and Starbucks hope it will tackle the underrepresentation of trans people in mainstream TV advertising.

Channel 4 diversity award

Some of the UK’s top brands competed to win Channel 4 Diversity Advertising Award. This year, the award called for entries to be LGBT+ themed for the first time.

Starbucks winning entry is tagged #whatsyourname. It’s themed on the idea that Starbucks barristas write your name on your cup.

Moreover, in fantasy ad land, they even spell it correctly.

Channel 4 said: ‘The #whatsyourname advert depicts “James” who is transitioning but faces everyday challenges because he does not identify with his birth name, “Jemma”.

‘It culminates with him trying out his true name for the first time at a Starbucks store, by asking to have the name James written on a Starbucks cup, which is called out by a barista.’

Alex Rayner, Starbucks’ general manager of retail in the UK welcomed the award:

‘We were moved to discover that individuals find our stores a safe space to try out their new names when transitioning. Writing a customer’s name on a cup and calling it out is a symbol of this warm welcome.’

The advert will debut on Channel 4 for the first time on Sunday night, 2 February. Viewers will see it during the first advertising break for the programme SAS: Who Dares Wins.

Right now, only 0.3% of UK TV adverts feature a transgender person. However the community making up at least 1% of the population.

James on a Starbucks cup.
The right name at last: James written on the cup. Starbucks Iris

Helping Mermaids with mermaids

Moreover, Starbucks is also using the campaign to raise money for Mermaids.

The trans youth charity has been helping gender-diverse kids, young people and their families since 1995.

However, it has grown significantly in the last few years. Meanwhile The Times and The Daily Mail, two leading British newspapers, have frequently criticised it. The two papers have also been behind a series of articles spreading hate against trans people.

Starbucks said: ‘We are partnering with the charity Mermaids with the aim of raising at least £100,000 for their helpline through the sale of a special edition Mermaid Cookie in our stores.

‘The organisation has seen over a 600% increase in demand for its helpline service in the past five years. And our support will help grow this service, allowing the charity to employ an additional helpline operator and extend its webchat service.

Susie Green, CEO of Mermaids, said: ‘The funds will allow us to make a meaningful change to our helpline that supports young trans people and their families who are so desperately in need of access to information and reassurance.’

Previous Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award winners have focused on women (RAF), disability (Maltesers) and mental health (Lloyds Bank).

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Author: Tris Reid-Smith

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