Why Mastercard’s True Name card for the LGBTQ+ community gets full marks, but the ad fails to match up

Why Mastercard’s True Name card for the LGBTQ+ community gets full marks, but the ad fails to match up

The Background

Mastercard has taken the commendable step of allowing members of the LGBTQ+ community to use their chosen names on their bank card as opposed to their assigned names. 

It’s a fantastic example of a brand listening to an actual need in the community and rising to meet it.

The Big Idea

The campaign launched with a stunt to rename Gay Street near the legendary Stonewall uprising with all the different monikers of the LGBTQ+ community, sanctioned by the Human Rights Commission.

What They Did

Created signage on Christopher Street and filmed a one-minute spot with different community members coming together and looking awed that Mastercard had put up a sign.

The Review

The product and service – amazing. 

The ad agency made an ad. 

It looks like an ad and feels like an ad; it’s trite and doesn’t express any of the complexity. 

The general thinking in the community is that Pride is about RESPECT not ACCEPTANCE – that denotes that permission needs to be given for someone to be who they are.

In Hindsight

Tell actual stories, inform people, move people, create allies, celebrate the triumph of the community. Don’t self-congratulate and put your logo on a movement and a political uprising. 

Support organisations that advance the rights of community members that face issues around ‘true names’ such as Trans Justice Funding Project.

When it comes to scoring, I give Mastercard True Name product ten out of five, but the ad agency stunt and expression two out of five – for at least putting it out there.

This is another example of ivory tower ad agencies missing the point. 

The content is blah and self-congratulatory; you don’t get a pat on the back for doing the right thing. 

The content looks and feels shallow, particularly in the context of the commodification of Pride.

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