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Burger King unwraps emoji keyboard for Chicken Fries return

Burger King is ramping up awareness of the return of a popular menu item, Chicken Fries, by rolling out a chicken-inspired emoji keyboard for mobile users, suggesting that emojis could be a potent marketing tool for on-the-go consumers.

The effort also leverages a promoted hashtag on Twitter with clever images and posts, with fans taking to social media to comment on the return of Chicken Fries to Burger King restaurants worldwide, helping the #ChickenFriesAreBack hashtag stay active despite the paid content. Burger King is also using a unique approach to marketing by enabling consumers to download the specially designed Chicken Fries emoji keyboard, available at the Google Play and iTunes App stores.

“Chicken Fries fanatics on social media inspired us to create the emoji keyboard,” said Adam Gagliardo, senior director, media and communications at Burger King Corporation, Miami, FL.

“They share screen-shotted text conversations about chicken fries, use GIFs to showcase their reactions and tweet emojis to us. When you combine that with our fans’ extreme love of Chicken Fries and their increased usage of messaging apps it made perfect sense to launch an emoji keyboard for them.”

Emojis as marketing
Burger King is treading into unique territory by leveraging emojis as a marketing tool. Due to the mobile-first outlook of many of its customers, the brand felt that introducing the chicken-inspired emoticons would excite fans and potentially entice other users to try the breaded white meat strips.

Smartphone users that wish to download the keyboard may do so at the Google Play and iTunes App stores. The keyboard includes several dozen emoticons resembling the chicken-emblazoned box that Chicken Fries arrive in, with a slew of different expressions, including crying and lovestruck emojis.

Customers will also receive mobile stickers with more chicken emoticons, the Burger King logo, and images of hashtags, such as #ChickenFries.

The fast food brand is also tapping GIFs to ramp up awareness among consumers, featuring winking chickens, and is seeing positive responses.

“I think the first review on the iTunes store sums it up: ‘These Chicken Fries emojis will be the only emojis you ever use — so cute!'” Mr. Gagliardo said.

Hashtag frenzy
Burger King is also turning to Twitter to drive sales of Chicken Fries by informing social media users of their availability via a promoted hashtag, #ChickenFriesAreBack. The brand is posting clever images and posts that fans are rapidly retweeting and sharing.

Promoted items include a Burger King employee holding an armful of Chicken Fries boxes, with the caption “It’s going to be a good day.” Another features a lone Chicken Fries box lying at a doorstop next to a single rose, labeled “There’s no stopping true love.”

Consumers have been quick to share their feelings of overwhelmed joy. One Twitter user uploaded a photo of her Chicken Fries, claiming she has dreamed about this day for so long.

This also suggests that promoted hashtags may be wise if the subject matter is potent enough to resonate emotionally with consumers and fuel sharing anyway.

Ultimately, Burger King is well-poised to drive sales of Chicken Fries by playing up the nostalgic factor on social media and catering to millennials via the emoji keyboard. Although Chicken Fries were discontinued in 2012, it appears that the power of mobile is bringing them back.

“We brought Chicken Fries back because of the volume of conversations and requests we saw on social media, so it only made sense to use a hashtag as a central part of the relaunch campaign,” Mr. Gagliardo said.

“Our fans are social extroverts who want to be a part of the conversation and a hashtag not only helps to create awareness but it connects them around their common passion.”