This Airline Made a URL Entirely of Emojis, and 1,600 People Managed to Type It In

One-day effort announces flight to Las Vegas

Headshot of David Griner

Emojis are usually pretty easy to use—unless you're trying to type them into your browser's address bar.

Norwegian Airlines decided its target millennial audience was probably up to the challenge, though, so earlier this week it partnered with several Danish influencers on Instagram to spread the cryptic URL shown above.

The brand says that on the day of the Instagram push, about 1,600 people visited the site, which announced a new direct flight connecting Copenhagen and Las Vegas. Normally that might be a disappointingly small number, but in this case the airline was intentionally trying to build buzz by playing hard to get.

"We know that young people aged 18 to 34 are incredibly complex to market to. Therefore we decided to take advantage of the target audience's way of using emojis as well as the linear feed on Instagram to hype the destination," said Tina Fristrup, senior marketing project manager at Norwegian Airlines.

Coca-Cola used a similar approach recently with its ad campaign featuring URLs made of one emoji each. Those ads also used Samoa's .ws domain, one of the few that allows emojis (for reasons you discover in depth in this Washington Post explainer).

Norewegian Airlines' URL was posted to Instagram not by the airline but by eight partner influencers, including a soccer player, music producer, models and bloggers. All told, the airline says, the posts generated 4,171 likes and reached an audience upward of 500,000 people.

"The campaign on Instagram will reach the target audience differently than they are used to," Fristrup said. "This part of the overall campaign has been put to work to strengthen the greater story of Las Vegas, to capture the target audiences curiosity, and to communicate the message in an innovative and humorous way."

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."