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“Oh yes, I am fluent in emoji,” said no one ever. Yesterday, the Internet exploded in reaction to Chevy’s press release for the 2016 Cruze that was written entirely in emojis.

Yes. You read that correctly. Using Chevy’s language: ?.

Deciphering the message on your own was nearly impossible, but Chevy encouraged people to try to crack the code before they put out a translation they’d received from the Translation and transcription services they’d hired. Admittedly, it’s a clever tactic to attract lots of press and engagement, and it may have worked.

Chevy’s senior manager for social media Craig Daitch claimed that the stunt was because emoji is “international in its adoption”. Then again, so is Google Translate. It’s clear we weren’t actually supposed to read it and understand it in emoji, but it felt like a desperate plea to attract a younger demographic.

What Chevy is missing is that millennials are smarter than they gave them credit for. It was painfully obvious they were the ones being targeted, making the message feel dumbed down. If there is anything that 20-somethings don’t like, it’s to feel like they are being spoken down to. They are the majority of the population that uses emojis, but they appreciate a good old fashioned marketing plan that targets them.

General Motors is a well-respected company that has been around a long time and that has a wide-ranging target audience. They ignored (at least) half of their customer base who may not understand emojis, but at the same time, gained a lot of publicity by doing something completely unheard of.

Props to them for doing something different, but is it really the best marketing technique? Maybe for the short term, but we don’t see this being sustainable based on the characteristics of their branding.