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  • Erik Steiner, NMI Business Intern

To Emoji or Not to Emoji

Emojis have successfully invaded pop culture in texting, movies, media and more. They have become an extension of our language – an extension that can be used in every situation, is multilingual, and can even be used in marketing campaigns to communicate brand messaging.

I’m Erik, the New Moon Ideas Intern, and as the youngest team member I am supposed to be the most well-versed in emojis. With the Emoji Movie coming out this month, we were curious to find some examples in advertising and see whether they were successful or not.


This first example comes from the McDonald's branch in England. The team wanted to show how getting McDonald's after a long day at work could turn the whole day around and make you happy again – but writing out this story in it’s entirety with words would take way too long for people to understand, so why not say it with emojis. Well I’ll tell you why not…

Society is not yet fluent in full emoji sentences. Emojis should be used in addition to words, not instead of them. When I look at this it takes a few seconds to really understand what it means, and in marketing you just lost a first impression. You have about three seconds to capture and hold an audience, and if they don’t understand it within that three seconds they will look away. Had to include this clever find from the graffiti artists who had their own story to tell though.

Second is the DeadPool Movie billboard campaign. Along with all the trailers and teasers, came this genius use of emojis. You might think that this is very similar to the Mcdonalds campaign and you’re right! But DeadPool has fixed the one biggest problem Mcdonalds had. Rather than say a sentence, they are only saying one word, Dead-Poo-L. The emojis are big, eye catching and clear, there is much less of a language barrier here since it’s just one word so you don’t lose people’s interest as they try to decipher it.

Next we have this… thing:

It seems Chevrolet didn’t really get the memo from McDonald's. And to be perfectly honest I don’t even know what this is supposed to say, is it a paragraph? A story? Is it a relatively normal ad translated or is it something else? We may never know. In fact, I’m curious, if you think you know what it says, please post it in the comments. As it stands, this ad just suffers from the same shortcomings as the McDonald's campaign, just way more severely.

Finally, we have an interesting campaign from Dominoes, using emojis in yet another unique way!

One thing that pizza delivery has over almost anything else is just how convenient it is, you call in and a ready-made meal gets delivered to your door… but what if you didn’t even have to talk to anyone? Dominoes made it possible for you to simply tweet them an emoji of pizza, and your favourite order will be delivered to your door. This campaign gets top points in my book just because of how unique it is, and how it offers an interactive call-to-action.

In order to use emojis effectively in marketing it is very important to understand that they are still very new. Emojis can’t just replace words just yet, they can’t express detailed thoughts effectively on their own, but they are very good at feelings. Are you happy?

Or are you

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