Emojis Lost in Translation?

Apple rolled out a series of more than 150 new emojis in their iOS 9.1 update, much to the joy and surprise of many iPhone users. Users had been waiting for a middle finger, taco and burrito emoji, among others.

As many iPhone (and even Andriod) users know, emoji has become its own kind of language in the past few years. So, how can marketers and public relations practitioners use this “new language” to their advantage? Marketing Magazine looked into the best emoji marketing campaigns to date, and ranked McDonald’s as number one, with Domino’s Pizza, Ikea and WWF also making the list.

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Also listed was Chevrolet, which, as I noted in a previous blog post, penned an entire press release in emojis. While I understand the generational implications of the emoji stunts, these types of technological outreach attempts are targeted at the Millennial generation. Are Millennials capable of buying their own cars? Of buying furniture to fill a house? As a member of the Millennial generation, I know I’m not.

When someone with a reputable business uses a consortium of emojis, it ends up looking sloppy. Take Goldman Sachs, for instance:

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Are brands using emojis just for the sake of using them? In the Goldman Sachs case, it looks that way. They even single out Millennials in the tweet.

While the new emoji keyboard just released contains taco and burrito emojis, the creation of a taco emoji was due to a change.org campaign asking for Taco Bell customers to sign a petition to create the taco emoji. Is a personalized emoji that imperative to a successful marketing campaign?

What do you think?

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One Response to Emojis Lost in Translation?

  1. Connor Johnson says:

    Emojis seem to me like they are a bit of a slippery slope. I see emojis being used by the Twitter accounts of sports teams more frequently than ever before. The reason for their usage being dangerous is that they are directed almost exclusively toward a younger audience. Huge portions of audiences above the age of 30 do not fully understand why emojis are used and what they mean. By making it seem like emojis are a foundation of Millennial communication, I worry that large companies will create large divides between audience types. What do you think? Do you think emojis have a place in more professional communications?

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