Emoji : The New Friend of Marketers

 First things first – in 2015 Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year was not a word! It was an emoji. It’s the tears of joy emoji.    

   It is no secret that 2015 was pretty much the year for emojis to rule the social landscape. Happy poop, pizza, the classic red heart + more small animated images showed up in numerous updates on social networks. So much so that Instagram introduced a new feature to help visitors search for updates using emoji hashtags. Simply typing a hashtag followed by an emoji would bring up all updates posted around the world with that hashtag. With all that popularity of emojis, it is hardly a surprise that major brands were quick to incorporate these in their promotional campaigns. Here are the top brands that made a mark with their emoji-powered campaigns in 2015:


 A press release written only with emojis? Yes, that’s exactly what one of the largest automakers in the world pulled off when it launched its all new Cruze model. Published on June 22, the press release contained virtually every category of emoji -(from hearts, happy faces to basketball and cycling) in order to suggest tasks that would be more pleasurable when people would take the car along. Brimming with positivity and shared on major social networks including Twitter with the hashtag #ChevyGoesEmoji, the PR made waves across the globe for its innovative presentation and its ability to resonate with the emotions of its target audience. Here’s what the automaker explained  Words alone can’t describe the new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, so to celebrate its upcoming reveal, the media advisory is being issued in emoji, the small emotionally expressive digital images and icons in electronic communication. 


There certainly is no dearth of creativity in the way McDonald’s reaches out to the masses. 2015 saw McDonald’s put up billboard ads featuring only emojis to highlight how its Good Times meals can solve hunger pangs. The campaign was launched in Paris and following major success was rolled out in other locations as well. With dozens of thumbs-up symbols emerging from burgers and red hearts racing out from meal boxes, the billboards looked all set to showcase the feel good effect of the meals. That didn’t stop determined McHaters though, and a billboard in Bristol was seen to prominently feature a vomiting emoji at the end of its marketing message, put there by an anonymous physical hacker.  


 The organisation is known for signs of constant innovation in its awareness campaigns, and 2015 was no exception to this. Their 2015 #EndangeredEmoji campaign on Twitter introduced 17 emojis, each representing an endangered species. WWF encouraged users to donate £0.10 or €0.10 every time they posted a tweet using one of those emojis. The fundraiser, which was quite a success and managed to attract the attention of millions, was easily one of the most innovative campaigns the brand has run to date.  

4.Intelligent Environments

 The financial technology company made headlines in 2015 due to their all new passcode system which allows users to simply key in 4 emojis instead of 4-digit passcodes, to log on to their bank accounts. When inquired about the thought process behind this interesting move, a company representative commented that an emoji passcode is not only easier for users to remember than traditional, alphanumeric passcodes but are also more secure from a mathematical point of view.  

5.Domino’s Pizza

 Twitter is not just for posting updates on one’s thoughts and experiences, it is now a tool for ordering a lip-smacking meal as well! Domino’s ‘Tweet to Order’ scheme, launched in 2015, allows customers, who have already set up ‘Easy Order’ accounts with the brand and mentioned their pizza preferences, to simply order a pizza by tweeting a pizza emoji to the Domino’s Twitter account.   

6.Norwegian Air Shuttle

 In 2015, the Norwegian Air Shuttle airline created a special emoji URL to target people flying to Las Vegas from Copenhagen. The URL, spread across Instagram by not the brand itself but its partner influencers, received 1600 hits on the first day itself. A marketing spokesperson commented that the move was about reaching out to the target audience of the airline in a different way than usual. Not only that, the spokesperson added that the move was to help the brand capture the curiosity of its target audience and also communicate the intended message in a humorous and innovative way.  The brand later declared that the posts made with the emoji URL had reached over 500,000 people and brought in over 4,100 likes.  


 The widespread popularity of emojis inspired Ikea, the premier furniture brand, to incorporate them in its own campaigns. In 2015, the brand launched a range of emojis featuring a domestic theme. While some symbolised Ikea’s range of furniture, others were related to household chores (such as vacuuming the house)  and were meant for couples to communicate quickly with one another without having to type entire messages when they were busy.  This could, the brand representative suggested, go a long way in reducing friction at homes due to lack of timely and effective communication.  One thing is for certain from these campaigns – emoji marketing is here to stay. With smartphones having larger screens flooding the market and tablets gaining stronger foothold with each passing month, the day is probably not far away when emojis will form the backbone of communication on many social media networks including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Here’re a list of campaigns that went viral in 2015.