Bianca Cline press
Citi's Puts Marketing Muscle Behind 'True Name' Card Initiative that Supports Transgender and Non-Binary Customers in New Ad, Lensed by Bianca Cline
December 5, 2020

by Adrianne Pasquarelli, Ad Age

Company is the latest to join Mastercard initiative that allows transgender and non-binary customers to put moniker of choice on their cards

Three weeks after announcing its participation in the “True Name” initiative that allows customers to use their self-identified chosen first name on credit cards, Citi is supporting the feature with a new marketing campaign. The bank is rolling out a 360-degree push that includes national TV, out-of-home, print and digital work, all of which are designed to help provide visibility for the transgender and non-binary community, according to Nikki Darden, director of global consumer marketing at Citi.

Darden notes that some 80% of Americans don’t know, or don't think they know, a trans person, according to data Citi gathered with its marketing and communications partner GLAAD.

“The notion of visibility is really important when you see people for who they truly are, which is what we’re trying to do around True Name,” Darden says. “It’s important to put the people front and center.”

In the 60-second broadcast spot, a trans actor grapples with choosing a new name, trying on different choices like “Robert,” or “James,” before finally settling on “Justin,” which appears at the end of the commercial on a Citi credit card. The spot will also run in a 30-second version, but no other lengths will air, Darden says, noting that this was an intentional decision.

“We’re going to tell the story or not at all,” she says, noting that other marketing materials will be used for shorter formats. “We wanted to make sure we were doing the story justice.”

The campaign’s broadcast TV photography was conducted by Bianca Cline, a trans cinematographer. Citi worked with Publicis on the effort.

The True Name feature was created by Mastercard and its agency McCann. The brand debuted the option for transgender customers to change their credit card name last year without needing a legal name change. Earlier this year, Mastercard worked with McCann New York on a TV spot that explained how the feature works. Cheryl Guerin, executive vice president of North America Marketing and Communications for Mastercard and McCann creative Lucas Crigler, who conceived the idea, spoke about the creation of the True Name card at Ad Age's "Future of Creativity" event.