adwise – mcmojis

McDonalds Emojified Advertising

Adwise is our opportunity to share some of the great marketing campaigns that the Uprise team find online, in the media and on the streets. Today we look at McDonald’s emojified print and TV ads.

McDonalds – Good times/Come as you are Smile

We’ve called them McMojis, but the McDonalds emoji print ads are actually part of their Good Times campaign. You’ve probably seen them popping up on billboards across the UK, we had one down the road from our offices, just like this one…

It’s interesting to see that more and more brands are picking up on the emoji as a form of communication, from Ikea’s emoticons based on their furniture and meatballs, to WWF’s #EndangeredEmojis, and Domino’s Pizza’s tweet-to-order using a pizza emoji. Although Domino’s took things a little further by solely tweeting in pizza emojis for a day!

All aboard the emoji express! steam-locomotive

So, why are brands like McDonald’s jumping on to the emoji trend? For international brands it certainly solves the problem of conveying messages in multiple languages. Chevrolet launched their new Cruze model on social media using emojis for that very reason. Now that reducing your message to 140 characters or less is an important part of a brand’s marketing strategy, finding a mode of communication that simplifies things even further is certainly helpful. Having said that, we’d certainly not recommend trying to communicate everything via smiley faces and cheeky monkeys. After all, it’s worth remembering that this style of communication is open to abuse. One of McDonald’s billboards was famously defaced in Bristol and received a lot of attention, perhaps not for the best reasons!

Huffington Post reacted to this with their own suggestions for McDonald’s emoji ads, most of them not very complimentary.

Everything’s Emoji! tongue

Interestingly, McDonald’s took things one step further in France with their impressive but slightly creepy TV advert, “Come as you are”.


Directed by the duo behind Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” video, it imagines a world of emoji-headed humans, all hankering for a McD’s. While the visuals are striking, and the electro-pop cover of Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” is certainly infectious, reactions to it have veered from perplexed to disturbed.

There’s no denying that the ad looks great, but the underlying suggestion that we’re all perhaps a bit too controlled by our mobile devices and social media personas does seem to sit strangely alongside a global fast food brand.

We’ll freely admit to being prone to the use of an emoji every now and then, especially when we message each other in the office on Slack, but it’s important to know when and where it’s appropriate.

It’s vital that you know the best way to convey your brand’s messages, whether that’s through social media, print advertising or digital marketing.

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