How Philadelphia Cream Cheese Helped Fix the #SadBagel Emoji

Droga5 and VMLY&R steer social stunt

Brands get all worked up about emojis in their product categories. 

Taco Bell famously and successfully lobbied for a taco emoji. Kendall-Jackson recently petitioned for a white wine emoji to match the red one. Tinder started a petition to add emoji of interracial couples. There are many more examples. 

The latest emoji kerfuffle has involved the new bagel emoji, whose designs have been roundly panned from the beginning. The first pass at a design was mocked for just being dumb. And when the final iOS design was unveiled earlier this month, it was met with a fair amount of outrage too, particularly in New York—mostly due to the lack of cream cheese on it. Consensus was that the dry bagel looked sad. A hashtag was created. A movement was started.

It didn't take much social listening for Droga5 and VMLY&R to catch on to Bagelgate, and try to do something about it on behalf of client Philadelphia Cream Cheese. 

Before long, Philly was tweeting at Apple and the Unicode Consortium about the issue. Then, the Kraft Heinz brand posted a Twitter poll that got 13,000 votes, with 82 percent of people in favor of adding cream cheese to the emoji. Finally, they started an online petition at—standard fare for this kind of campaign. 

Within 10 days, Apple bowed to the overwhelming pressure and updated the bagel emoji to include cream cheese. "Finally the internet was happy again and we ensured future generations wouldn't have to look at a sad, dry bagel," the Philadelphia brand said in a statement. 

Asked about the social listening that informed the creative, Justin Ruben, group creative director at Droga5, told Muse: "As rampant consumers of culture, the Droga5 team keeps up to date with the latest conversations within and beyond the category. This campaign was fully born from the groundswell of organic conversation on Twitter from bagel fans. These 'bagelgate' conversations suggested a clear role for Philadelphia to help right this emoji wrong." 

Whew. Now, back to your regularly scheduled news about how the world is going to hell for real. 

Client: Kraft Heinz Philadelphia
Project: Philadelphia Bagel Emoji

Creative Agency: Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Chief Creative Officer: Neil Heymann
Executive Creative Director: Kevin Brady
Group Creative Director: Justin Ruben
Senior Copywriter: Mietta McFarlane 
Senior Art Director: Luke Chard 
Senior Art Director: Tommaso Fontanella 
Design Director: Michael Kleinman 
Director of Business Affairs: Jocelyn Howard 
Business Affairs Manager: Shaunda Slade 
Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
Head of Strategy: Harry Román-Torres 
Strategist: Mara Buta
Head of Communications Strategy: Dean Challis
Communications Strategist: Hillary Fink
Group Account Director: Lauren LaValle 
Account Supervisor: Milly Dunn 
Account Manager: Odalis Lopez 
Associate Account Manager: Jeff Winsper 
Legal: Sarah Fox 
Photographer: Paul McGeiver

Client: Kraft Heinz, Philadelphia
Ariel Suffern: Vice President of Marketing
Jessica Ryan: Head of Brand Building, Refrigerated Growth Platforms 
Blythe Pollack: Sr. Associate Brand Manager, Philadelphia

Media Agency: Starcom
Associate Media Director: Dana Staton 
Associate Director: Brooke Jacob 
Senior Associate: Emily Donovan 
Media Associate: Austin Thomson 
Strategy Supervisor: Jacqueline Hoover 
Senior Media Associate: Ryan Wenzel 
Supervisor: Anthony Gentile

Social Agency: VMLY&R
Senior Account Manager: Anna Sagan 
Account Director: Stephanie Jones 
Connections Manager: Ryan O’Keefe 
Creative Director: Jenna Nussbaum 
Group Creative Director: Mariana Costa

PR Agency: Alison Brod Marketing and Communications
Senior Vice President: Brooke Scher Mogan 
Public Relations Manager: Alyssa Keller

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