Many of the world’s biggest brands are always looking for programs that are universal in nature, whilst still being culturally relevant. The emoji keyboard seems to exemplify this. It has become an effective agent of self-expression in pop culture in recent years. Companies have latched onto emoji’s as a way to authentically connect consumers to not only to their product, but to their brands as well. Emojis have reached a point where they have mass adoption – even when you think about developing markets where consumers have gone straight to mobile, emoji are a way for people to communicate with each other in a very contextually relevant way.
Brands have tried to utilise emoji’s in different way. McDonald’s released ‘minimalist’ billboard ads made up entirely of emoji’s to get the message of the restorative powers of its meals for the ‘Good Times’ campaign. Initially trialled in Paris, the success they’ve had meant it was rolled out globally. They used a clever twist to their standard creative, incorporating hundreds of small emoji designs to draw out their identifiable products.
The airline Norwegian air shuttle created an emoji URL to target a very specific group – people wanting to fly from Copenhagen to Las Vegas. The URL was pushed out on Instagram – a primarily millennial social network – solely by partner influencers, not the brand itself, and had 1,600 hits on day one. The airline said the posts generated 4,171 likes and reached over 500,000 people. The marketing spokesperson succinctly summed up the power of emojis when it comes to millennials, by saying it was about reaching the target audience “differently than they are used to” and about “capturing the target audience’s curiosity, and to communicate the message in an innovative and humorous way”.
It’s clear to see emoji’s can work as a marketing strategy, but it’s definitely a dangerous game. Juicy Fruit exemplify how a brand can overstep the mark and demand to much of the consumer to comprehend what they’re actually trying to say with their communications. Simply substituting words for emoji’s has become outdated and boring. They have become a pop culture trend very obvious to tap into. So the marketing atmosphere has been saturated with endless campaigns like Juicy Fruit. Consumers have become more savvy to emoji marketing campaigns and for brands to harness their potential in the future, they will have to be more inventive and relevant.
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