Was this the year emojis became the norm in advertising? Pepsi, Deadpool, and McDonald’s think so. And so do we.
Emojis are used to relate short stories and elaborate conversations in ways that words simply cannot. According to Lifewire, emojis have been around since 1999 when Japanese designer Shigetaka Kurita made the first emoji for cellphones, but “they weren’t fully embraced by the masses until 2012 when Apple released iOS 6.” There are now more than 2,800 emojis in the Unicode Standard as of mid-2018, up from the 176 in the original set of emojis. It’s surprising how quickly emojis became mainstream. And now, they are being used in advertising.
If you think you’re an emoji king/queen, try playing Emoji Trivia.
Gen Z is mobile-focused and their primary way of communicating is through mobile. Whether texting, tweeting, snapping or something else, they live on their phones. Perhaps not coincidentally, we are also seeing an uptick in the use of emojis. It’s an easier way to express ideas, and their popularity continues to grow. They’re everywhere, and show no signs of fading away anytime soon. Just look at a few current campaigns from some of the biggest advertisers in the world.
Apparently Pepsi wanted to get in on the custom bottles business with Coke. However, instead of names, we have Pepsi emojis! Each emoji is unique to Pepsi, not available on a typical mobile keyboard. This adds a nice touch, making the imagery exclusive to the brand.
By doing so, Pepsi creates a “together as one” vibe. The copy reinforces that, reading, “Say it with Pepsi.” They also use a hashtag on one of the cans, #pepsiemoji. Nice combination of two of Gen Z’s favorite tools: emojis and hashtags. Pepsi continues its quest to be the choice of the younger generation.
Deadpool’s emoji marketing campaign became a surprise success story. According to Ryan Reynolds, “The whole thing started as a pun in the WhatsApp group of the production members. Just a silly joke between colleagues who went crazy and decided to put it on the streets.” Even AdWeek called it “so stupid it’s genius.” The ad went viral and helped Deadpool break box office records for an R-rated movie.
The impressive thing about this marketing campaign is that McD’s is telling a story using only emojis. They are saying that if you drop your phone in the toilet, grab some McDonald’s fries to cheer yourself up. (Because McDonald’s is the first thing you think of when you drop your phone in the toilet, right?)
This ad shows that an idea doesn’t need to be complicated in order to be effective. And when it comes to simple, emojis are tough to beat.
As you can see, emojis have become mainstream in both popular culture and advertising. As advertisers continue to compete for younger audiences, we can expect to see the language of advertising continue to evolve, too. Don’t lose your smiley face; work with hfa to keep your business ahead of market trends.