Trigger Happy

Coca-Cola Bought a Whole Bunch of Emoji Web Addresses

Coke definitely approves of your happiness.
Coke definitely approves of your happiness. Photo: @cokepuertorico

Thanks to some complicated domain-registry jujitsu, Coca-Cola has figured out a way to insert actual smiley faces into URLs. The company’s Puerto Rico arm apparently bought the URL for a bunch of happy-faced emoji — “an icon that means happiness in every corner of our planet” — on the .ws domain (that’s short for Western Samoa, which apparently has more lax website rules than other countries). So, if you load a site with a happy emoji, you’ll find yourself at EmojiCoke. (Or if you’re a punk and try a frowny face just because, you get a page that nicely suggests, in Spanish, that popping open and sharing a Coke will improve your mood.)

Makes sense that Coke would figure out a way to co-opt the omnipresent little icons: “There really are no negative or mean emoji,” Adam Sternbergh wrote in New York’s recent, massive emoji feature. “There’s no violent or aggressive emoji. Even the angry faces are hilarious or silly.”

Mira que cool lo que me hizo @cokepuertorico ! Ya tengo mi url con Emojis! Busca el tuyo en www. 😀.ws— El Gangster (@elgangster) February 12, 2015

But so what the heck is that .ws domain, and why did Coke pick it? Officially, it’s the domain suffix for the South Pacific island of Samoa, and Coke’s logic for using it, according to agency behind the campaign, was that “Emojis are not accepted on domains such as .com, .net, and .org.” There are other options, but the marketing team says “WS” was an obvious choice acronym-wise. Those letters are indeed pretty random, but Coke either immediately saw potential, or just said “Oh whatever” and made it work: “The letters could stand for ‘We smile,’ and hence seemed most relevant to the brand.”


Coca-Cola Bought a Whole Bunch of Emoji Web Addresses