A turkey emoji already exists, but it's the bird not the food.

Mike Pomranz
September 25, 2017

Since 1981, the days when a rotary phone could still be found in places other than a museum or a dump, Butterball has offered its Turkey Talk-Line to help families who might not cook a turkey more than once a year still end up with an acceptable Thanksgiving dinner. Last year, for the first time, the bird brand added a new wrinkle to its annual helpline tradition: Allowing people to text and tweet questions to Butterball's dedicated 24-hour staff.

In offering texting for the first time, the Turkey Talk-Line team quickly became aware of something: Unicode doesn't offer a "Thanksgiving Turkey" emoji. A live turkey bird emoji exists, added back in 2015 as part of the "animals & nature" emoji group, but a cooked turkey isn't included as part of the "food & drink" section. By comparison, chicken has essentially six symbols: chicken, rooster, hatching chick, baby chick, front-facing baby chick and poultry leg. And as Butterball points out, Christmas got its own Christmas tree emoji even though there's also a perfectly good evergreen tree symbol.

According to Butterball, in responding to over 8,300 texts last year, its experts ended up texting back the words "turkey" and "frozen turkey" over 5,000 times, so the brand figured it was about time to save its team's thumbs and ask the good people at the Unicode Consortium for the addition of a proper "Thanksgiving turkey" emoji—something that looks more like a cooked bird surrounded by all the fixin's. Today, the company launched a petition on Change.org : "Make the Thanksgiving Turkey Emoji."

Courtesy of Butterball

"Every other major holiday has at least one emoji. There's fireworks, champagne, and noise-makers for New Year's Eve; cupid hearts for Valentine's Day; ghosts and jack-o-lanterns for Halloween; and so much more," the petition states. "But Thanksgiving, the most-celebrated holiday in the country, doesn't have an emoji that truly captures the occasion." Sure, though a live turkey might not "capture" Thanksgiving, in many households, the wine glass emoji probably does the trick… but okay… point taken.