Sales & Marketing

Emoji campaign trend on the rise as marketers seek to attract Generation Z

6 min read

30 July 2015

For years, brands have been chasing the millennial market for their insatiable appetite for digital media. However, marketers are shifting their attention to include Generation Z – those who love to text and communicate through emojis.

Research shows that looking at a smiley face online is like looking at a happy face in real life. Another study found that 64 per cent of millennials use emojis on a regular basis. It went so far as to predict that future passwords would primarily consist of emojis as well.

Professor Vyv Evans from Bangor University suggested that emojis are evolving at a faster pace than ancient languages such as hieroglyphics. She claimed that 72 per cent of 18 to 25-year-olds found it easier to put their feelings across using emoji rather than with words.

Evans said: “Emoji is the fastest growing form of language in history based on its incredible adoption rate and speed of evolution. As a visual language emoji has already far eclipsed hieroglyphics, its ancient Egyptian precursor which took centuries to develop.”

Emojis have been in such demand that predictive keyboard app SwiftKey has joined the Unicode Consortium (UC) to help assess the role of emojis in digital communication. Google has also launched an extended collection of emojis for Gmail.

The increase in icons has allowed businesses and people alike to get creative. After all, it allowed this guy to make a music video to Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” entirely out of emoji to woo a girl he liked.

Andy Murray also marked his wedding day by tweeting the story of the day entirely in emoji.

Brands are hopping onto the emoji bandwagon left, right and centre. Chevrolet promoted a media release for its 2016 Cruze consisting entirely of emojis

However, even though there was an accompanying YouTube series in which comedian Norm Macdonald goes to Emoji Academy to help decode the release, people were incredibly confused. Wired‘s Megan Logan said: “While it’s an admittedly clever gimmick, it seems that perhaps we are not ready for the all-emoji press release.”

Here’s part one of the series:

But what about other brands? Burger King promoted the return of its Chicken Fries with an emoji content on Twitter. And Domino’s is actually allowing its customers to order pizza simply by tweeting a pizza slice emoji! The concept won the firm behind the marketing push a Grand Prix award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Oreo launched a mobile marketing campaign in China, which allowed parents to take photos of themselves and their children and to paste them on to dancing emojis. In less then three months, it generated nearly 100 million emojis.  Peta also launched an emoji campaign, which sent texts asking people to text back a heart emoji. 

In this example, Budweiser used emojis to celebrate the American 4th of July holiday.

Victoria Secret also went all out:

As did Star Wars:

World Wide Fund for Nature used emoji in its Twitter fundraising campaign to encourage consumers to help save endangered animals.

It has also been used for educational purposes, with General Electric’s EmojiScience using emojis to encourage students to expand their knowledge of science through a series of experiments.