Chevrolet challenges journos to decode its emoji press release

The way PRs sell-in their press releases is changing . Not because they want to; but because they have to.

When I first launched Prime Time I wrote a blog inspired by an Evening Standard comment piece which claimed that journalists just aren’t interested in press releases any more. So, the industry responds by applying the latest trends to meet hacks half way.

From condensing announcements into 140 characters and tweeting journalists directly to using Pitch Engine’s Tiny PR initiative, giving people the chance to write and format attractive and engaging releases on any device, it’s working.

But, car brand Chevrolet has pushed the industry even further this week by issuing the first emoji release – to celebrate the launch of its 2016 Chevrolet Cruze.

Chevrolet's emoji press release

Laying down a gauntlet and challenging journos to decode the message, it’s a bold move. But, not surprising.

As the UK’s fastest-growing language, 80% of people use emoji to interact and 72% of 18-25 year olds find it easier to express their feelings.

A quick look at Chevy’s press release, it  doesn’t take long for my head to start spinning. Which is why I’m glad the PR team took the initiative to decode the message on a set day, intriguing the media even more.

What I like most about this novel sell-in is that, other than having an authentic angle , the campaign is joined up.

It sounds obvious, but so many brands forget to maximise their social media channels. Think Gu Puds which recently stalled at the first hurdle.

Chevy clearly signposts visitors on its website to the press release and encourages people to not only download, but also tweet the team the decoded version using the hashtag #ChevyGoesEmoji.

Over on Twitter the team are at risk of OD-ing on emojis. But, I’ll let them off.

They’re enjoying themselves by engaging with followers (big tick from me), sharing videos and GIFs and pushing the hashtag – to ensure its talked about for the right reasons. And this approach is being echoed lightly across its Facebook, Google+ and YouTube profiles.

Although it’s not the first time emojis have been used to make a statement (remember Buzzfeed’s interview with Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop?), this stunt does mark the start of a happy and creative love triangle between emoticons, PRs and journalists.

The next brand to follow suit will look like a copycat, but good luck to the third. Make it brilliant and it’ll drive the trend.

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