Supporting the community moving forwards
The Starbucks and Iris team were adamant that the campaign wouldn’t just live on TV; that it would carry the stories further afield and provide support to Mermaids in turn. Littler explains: “The partnership between Starbucks and Mermaids will last beyond the advertising campaign. The funding from Starbucks will enable Mermaids to put an additional helpline operator to extend the Mermaids webchat opening hours by nine hours every day.”
In addition to raising funds for the charity’s helpline, Starbucks have also created a mermaid tail-shaped biscuit that customers can buy in stores around the UK. A portion of every sale will go directly to the charity. As Littler says of the money raised, “It helps [Mermaids] to help more people and that’s what we’re really proud of.”
Alongside the TV slot, Iris created a series of social posts entitled Moving Portraits featuring other members of the trans community sourced through the original casting process. Thambirajah explains that it was important for the team to convey a breadth of story: “We are not just telling a story about a community; we’re actually giving them a platform for them to voice something that they’ve been wanting to tell.”
While the power of the TV slot came through directly reflecting the original insight, that of being recognised, the social posts, explains Thambirajah, go beyond that, to “allow people to tell the deeper story behind their name and how they came to choose it.” The reason they’ve chosen to run the portraits on social is in the hope that they will only open up the conversation, inviting other members of the trans community to share their stories.
What has been important since the campaign launched, for Thambirajah is that “the campaign has been validated to a certain extent by Mermaids.” The charity asked their community to come forward if they’d had similar experiences; 30 people called in within the first 24 hours “saying that this was reflective of them and the journey they’ve been on,” he adds.
Picking up a coffee with your name on it is such an everyday part of people’s lives that, if it’s not your lived experience, you’d never recognise the significance that such a simple act can contain.
The power of this ad is that it gives people an understanding of another community’s experience, something the team were able to do because they both listened to and engaged with the community at the heart of the story they set out to tell. What is clear is that the truth of the insight carries through the campaign, in the power of the unspoken emotions written on a young person’s face and the simple act of feeling recognised for who they really are.