Kelly Scott Madison



Marketers in the digital landscape have a new language to learn

There is no doubt that the popularity of emojis is here to stay. What started as a silly add-on to text messages has now become a universal digital language of its own. With the rise of this new mode of communication, brands and agencies are consciously making the effort to leverage emojis to connect with their consumers in ways that have not been possible in the past.

Just as people use emojis to add personality andcharm to their texts and social media posts, brands are following suit. With the use of an emoji, brands and consumers alike can express more complex ideas through one-character pictures. Some brands have even created rich-media campaigns around emojis. 

This past year, Taco Bell launched a petition on to convince Unicode Consortium (a non-profit that has a hand in identifying new emojis) to create a taco emoji. The campaign received 33,000 virtual signatures, successfullyconvincing Unicode to add a taco into the emoji catalogin July 2015. Taco Bell then leveraged this win by launching a creative social campaign, where the fast-food restaurant invited Twitter users to tweet a taco emoji aside any additional emoji to the @tacobell handle in order to receive an illustrated response. More than 600 variations of possible responses, some animated and others stagnant images, encouraged large volumes of tweets. For example, by typing in a taco emoji next to a lightning bolt emoji, users received a tweet from Taco Bell that included an animated video of a taco-headed Zeus throwing lightning bolts at objects to turnthem into tacos. Another variation allowed users to tweet the taco emoji next to a smiley face, which generated an image of a taco emoji wearing sunglasses. Taco Bell branded the campaign with the #TacoEmojiEngine hashtag to generate buzz and awareness.

A recent study by Instagram showed that brands are increasing their focus on creative engagement with audiencesas more advertisers move to this platform. Creative use of branded hashtags, emojis and even emoji hashtags (wherethe emoji replaces text usually included next to a hashtag) have been proven to help brands pop amongst their competition. Instagram revealed that 35 percent of... 

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