Emoji ❤️ Part 2: Emojis in Marketing

Marketing teams are finding more ways to include emojis than just using them in emails and tweets. Companies are incorporating emojis in a number of campaigns, to create stronger brand engagement with their target audience, appear more relatable, and create interest in their online campaigns. Many companies are using emojis online to generate buzz about upcoming events or products. Marketing professionals understand that creating ways to get the public excited about your brand means creating opportunities for your audience promote your brand themselves.

Big brands such as Saturday Night Live and Burger King are two of many companies that have created custom emojis to create brand engagement and promote excitement about an event. In commemoration of their 40th anniversary, Saturday Night Live created a free app containing episode clips, music videos, and most notably, an installable emoji keyboard containing custom SNL themed emojis. Considering SNL’s cult-like following that spans several generations, this was a genius idea that proved to be very popular. Similarly, to announce the return a new product, chicken fries, Burger King released a custom chicken fries themed emoji keyboard that was available for download and use by the public.



An example of creative use of emojis in a social media campaign is Domino’s tweet-to-order system. By simply creating an online account, users are able to order a pizza by simply tweeting the pizza emoji to Domino’s. This not only makes Domino’s stand out among competitors by making ordering from them an easier and quicker process, but it also makes them appear fun and quirky. Following the quirky theme, Domino’s also went on a streak of only replying to tweets with only the pizza emoji and punctuation. Sure, many people were probably annoyed by this, but it was successful in bringing Domino’s into conversation as well as creating a stronger bond between their own brand and the pizza emoji.


In Puerto Rico, Coca-Cola registered URL’s for every emoji that communicated happiness. Associating their brand with happiness is nothing new, but Coca-Cola found new way to do so through the use of emojis.


Taco Bell used emojis to appear relatable to their audience by showing them that they care about the same things as them. About a year ago Taco Bell launched a petition on change.org as well as an online campaign and T-shirts rallying supporters for their mission to get a taco emoji added to the standard keyboard.  Thousands of people not only signed the petition but also took up the cause themselves posting on social media about their desire for a taco emoji. This was a success, with the public tweeting phrases like “Tacos are love, tacos are life” Taco Bell had created an online conversation with themselves in the centre. It was also successful in associating the Taco Bell brand with an emoji before it was even released. It is noteworthy to add that a taco emoji appeared in the emoji keyboard with most recent iPhone update.


Another creative example of creating brand engagement through emojis was Miracle-Gro’s Springmoji Garden campaign. The campaign encouraged public participation in “planting” a virtual garden. The Springmoji site used an emoji-tracker that added a plant to the site’s “garden” every time a user tweeted one of the 12 plant-based emojis alongside the #springmoji hashtag. The campaign was used to reach out to a younger audience get the public excited about gardening regardless of their weather conditions.


The World Wildlife Foundation launched an emoji-based campaign that generated donations. The #EndangeredEmoji campaign worked by using the fact that 17 of the available animal emojis can be used to represent real endangered species. The campaign allowed those who wished to donate to their cause to sign up to donate 0.10 euros (about 11 cents) every time they used one of the 17 endangered animal emojis.

Using emojis in a campaign can be highly effective, but be warned, emojis may not be appropriate for every brand or every brand’s target market. These campaigns worked well as they targeted millennials, but even campaigns targeted to this group could be unsuccessful. Improper use of emojis could be detrimental, and overusing emojis can be interpreted as downright insulting to the audience. Over use of emojis can also make a piece of communication appear spammy and not be taken seriously. Similarly, overusing emojis can make a message confusing. Take a look at this announcement by Chevy. Although Chevy later released a decoder to help their audience decipher the message I personally have no desire to figure out what the message said. Emojis are effective because they are easy to understand so making them extra-complicated seems to be an counter-intuitive.

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There are many more companies that are choosing to employ emojis in their marketing campaigns. Keep your eyes peeled for new and creative ways that emojis are being used!

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