Back to Work

Mastercard - True Name

We see Mastercard True Name as representing Designing for People as it combines both very specific insight into people and their daily struggle with genuine bravery and creativity in solving their problem and telling the story.

New product development built from empathy

2019 marked the biggest celebration of World Pride, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Over the many years Mastercard has supported Pride, the cultural landscape has dramatically shifted, and corporate involvement is now ubiquitous. To have a continued, meaningful presence, Mastercard needed to do something the financial category had never done before: accelerate acceptance through action.

Speaking directly to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, it was through one person’s candid story that Mastercard learned a painful and undeniable truth.

The majority of transgender individuals face tremendous challenges when it comes to changing their legal name. As a result, 68% of transgender people say that not one of their IDs has the name and gender they preferred. What’s worse, 32% who have shown an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted. For millions of transgender individuals, their card is a constant reminder that they are not accepted.

To address this challenge and to facilitate greater acceptance, Mastercard created the True Name—the first payments product feature that allows people to prominently feature the name they associate with on the front of their card, without requiring a legal name change.

We built an authentically diverse experience

The initiative was announced to the world during a panel briefing led by key community influencers on what acceptance means to them. This set the stage for the True Name Card announcement underscoring the importance of public-private partnerships in fostering progress for communities.

Following the briefing, attendees walked to the iconic corner where Christopher Street meets Gay Street for the official debut of “Acceptance Street,” a street sign installation, in partnership with New York City Commission of Human Rights, that reflects the unique and diverse identities within the LGBTQIA+ community.

In order for Mastercard to speak directly and authentically to their audience, they leaned into LGBTQIA+ endemic media partners, including Out, The Advocate, Queerty and Gay Cities, utilizing a mix of custom branded content and standard media placements to tell the story and bring True Name and Acceptance Street to life.

On-the-day of, location-based data along the parade route and related events were leveraged to place programmatic OOH messages where they mattered. 

In partnership with Google, Acceptance Street became an official landmark, and top-tier relevant influencers including “Queer Eye’s” Antoni and Aaron Philip, raised awareness and engagement with the installation. As Snapchat Audience Filters brought Acceptance Street to those that couldn’t physically visit the location.

We learnt how resonant supporting the marginalized can be

True Name set a new industry standard and brought a historically marginalized group within the LGBTQIA+ community to the forefront. Within the first 3 weeks of the campaign, Mastercard garnered over 2 billion impressions, including 15MM impressions on Snapchat alone from consumers engaging with and sharing more than 3 million custom Audience Filters. Positive brand sentiment increased by 3000%, with an overwhelmingly positive sentiment at 99% during Pride month. With a 19:1 earned to paid ratio during the campaign, Mastercard’s content truly resonated beyond their core audience.