“Words alone can’t describe the new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze.” That’s how General Motors introduced a press release published earlier this week and written entirely in emoji. In what was largely seen as an attempt to appeal to millennial buyers, the car manufacturer invited online audiences to decipher the message before the real announcement was unveiled the following day.
Quoted on businessinsider.com, Chevrolet’s senior manager for social media Craig Daitch explained, “Because emoji is international in its adoption, we wanted to have fun and be irreverent with our audience.” Indeed, those who have praised the initiative have done so because it demonstrates the company’s desire to embrace social media by communicating in a fun, relatable way that is in touch with online consumers’ behavior.
For example, writing on LinkedIn Sean Gardner argues that regardless of Chevrolet’s target audience, the emoji press release was clearly designed to create buzz surrounding the release of a car that had been seven years in the making, in an innovative way that reflects how consumers communicate on social media.
However, not everybody was quite so convinced. Some deemed the press release “millennial hieroglyphics”, while others took to Twitter to express their opinion…
Like all things that spark debate, Chevrolet’s emoji press release did one thing very well – it boosted the brand’s visibility on social media, drawing attention to the reveal of the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze. And though unexpected, it wasn’t the first time a brand has used emoji to engage customers on social networks.
Consumers in the US are now able to order a Domino’s pizza by tweeting either the hashtag #EasyOrder or the pizza emoji to the @Dominos account.
Now, we know what you’re thinking – what about toppings? And no, there isn’t an emoji for every single one. Instead, customers need to register an Easy Order account on the Domino’s website with details of their pizza preferences, which are used when they order by tweet.
In a move to drive awareness on social media, the WWF is using animal emoji characters to engage audiences in the protection of endangered species. Simple yet effective, this initiative capitalizes on the visual appeal and widespread use of emoji.
As for emoji themselves, their existence is in no danger. In fact, they constitute a fast-growing trend that many believe will never let up. Last month, MailChimp revealed that it has delivered 1.4 billion emoji characters to inboxes since introducing support for the picture language in February.
Reacting to Chevrolet’s emoji press release, this article on wired.com argues that the characters are for “augmenting, not replacing, written language.” This is true; emoji should not and cannot replace words. But having already won over the vast majority of social media users, they are becoming a favored communication method for a significant number of brands, too.