HomeInsightsCommittees of Advertising Practice publish advice on use of emojis in advertising

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CAP recognises that emojis can be a powerful tool to make content relatable, friendlier and relevant to audiences, particularly when it comes to social media. However, it says that marketers should keep in mind when using emojis to always ensure that consumers can still recognise that what they are reading is an ad.

Although marketers should always be mindful of their audience, it would seem that the ASA’s current view is that emojis, in and of themselves, do not automatically have particular appeal to specific audiences. The ASA considers emojis likely to have appeal across all age groups, including under 18s, and their use does not necessarily reflect or have a direct association to youth culture.

However, CAP says, if the particular context or combination of emojis is directly associated with an aspect of youth culture, or otherwise likely to appeal more to children than adults, then there are certain types of products (e.g. alcohol, gambling, e-cigarettes, etc) that should avoid this in their marketing.

CAP recognises that the use of emojis can contribute to the meaning of the ad and, depending on the sector, could also ultimately render an ad irresponsible.

It is also worth being aware of the various alternative meanings for emojis and strings of emojis. As CAP says, “there are some contexts in which a misplaced peach or aubergine could potentially risk falling foul of the ad rules”. To read CAP’s advice note in full, click here.