The rise of emoji for brand marketing

Emoji marketing: Say it with emojis!

Nowadays, just about everyone is using emojis. They are everywhere. And by that we mean literally everywhere. As in: they invaded the offline world too. These little guys are to be found in all forms: from dedicated books to custom pillows, or even emoji undies! Who knew these were actual things!?

Another proof of their influence in our cultural landscape is the fact that the 2015 word of the year was the “face with tears of joy” emoji. This perfectly sums up a practice of wordless communication. If you can’t remember the last time you had a text-based conversation without using an emoji, a sticker or a GIF to express your feelings, we’re looking at you.

Our area of shorter attention span and abunding information “means fewer 30-second commercials and more emojis and apps”. In their quest for audiences, marketers have obviously tried and joined the party too.

Top brands that cleverly use emoji marketing

There’s like 1,000 different ways to incorporate emojis in marketing messages. We’ve seen lots of branded emojis, for example: Versace, Foot Locker and Burger King have all created their own emoji keyboard to promote their products.

We also found a lot of other genius emoji uses in the food and beverage sector, including Pepsi and Domino’s Pizza. Pepsi had a big packaging idea: they unleashed the #SayItWithPepsi campaign and created limited edition bottles and cans to celebrate summer with PepsiMoji. As for Domino’s, they made a fun move to appeal to the younger generation who is used to instantaneousness. In May 2015, they let consumers in the US order a pizza simply by tweeting —or apparently texting— the pizza slice emoji.

Beyond the creation of conversations, the “tweet-to-order” method also held the benefit of reducing the time it takes to order. The campaign was so successful it won the 2015 Cannes Titanium Grand Prix for most breakthrough idea of the year!

But emojis aren’t here just for fun; they have also been used for more serious purposes. Last year, a UK firm developed the world’s first emoji-only passcodes for banks. At about the same time, the Swedish NGO BRIS introduced the “Abused Emoji” app designed to help kids communicate over mistreatment or sadness.

Despite all of this, emoji marketing still raises a number of questions around its real impact in brands’ campaigns. Right now the “emoji ROI” is still hard to measure, but that could change as technology improves.


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