How transgender clients reacted when MasterCard stopped deadnaming them

A campaign introducing "True Name" shows how a simple card can bring a lot of joy.


MasterCard has brought its True Name card to Canada, allowing transgender clients to be referred to by their actual name on their credit card. And a new campaign aims to show just how important something the rest of us take for granted can be.

“Deadnaming” is when a transgender person is referred to by a name they went by pre-transition. Many transgender people describe experiencing emotional and mental harms when they are referred to by an identity that didn’t represent who they really are. But it can also become a major logistical and safety hurdle when it comes to documentation, identification and credit cards, resulting in transgender people being denied access to things from simple day-to-day purchases to health procedures and housing.

McCann Canada has created a campaign introducing MasterCard’s True Name to the Canadian market. The video features interviews with people describing the difficulties they’ve faced when it comes to deadnaming. It also captures their reaction when they are presented with their own True Name card – which, as one subjects describes it, is the first thing they have with their name on it.

True Name was first introduced by MasterCard in the U.S. in 2019, and has been rolling out to more markets since. BMO became the first bank to offer True Name when it launched in Canada a few weeks ago, allowing clients to request a new card with their chosen name by phone or visiting a BMO branch, without going through the process of a legal name change, which can come with its own set of barriers. Jennifer Douglas, the bank’s head of North American retail and small business payments, said at the time of the launch that True Name is a simple way to remove barriers to inclusion and ensure banking is safe and accessible.

The creative was also directed by Na, a transgender director who was also involved in the casting and pre-production interviews – every step of the process needs to be “intentional and mindful,” they say, in order to have the sensitivity and understanding needed for a subject like this one. Based in Detroit, Na recently signed with Alfredo Films for Canadian representation – “True Name” is their first work for the production house. Na’s previous works includes spots for the likes of Bumble, Chevrolet and Microsoft.

Carat is handling media for the campaign, which includes buys during high-viewership TV like Survivor, as well as an extensive social and digital buy. Ketchum is handling PR and communications.