CHICAGO — Attention 21st century smartphone users: There is no hot dog emoji on your cellphone.
Users of a certain popular cellphone emoji app may be ahead of the curve in this discovery, but according to Laura Ustick, general manager of Superdawg, buzz on Chicago's social media has reached a crescendo over the lack of a hot dog icon in the popular emoji set.
Something needed to be done, Ustick said. And it's a fight Superdawg is ready to take on for the city's hot dog community.
"We started a petition," Ustick said. "There's definitely high demand. There's a hamburger, pizza, fried shrimp [emoji], but there's no hot dog."
"We're trying to speak for all hotdogdom," she added, noting that America's Dog, Hot Doug's and the beer community have been especially supportive.
Superdawg intially took the discussion to Twitter on Dec. 26 with a half-joking tweet that read: "Whoever is in charge of emoji art, we respectfully request that you add a hot dog. We will call it a Superdawg, but don't worry about that."
On Friday, Ustick said, the call for #HotDogEmoji had picked up speed.
"Do it for hot dogs, do it for country," one supporter tweeted Sunday night. Another #HotDogEmoji fan suggested calling on the Food Network and the Travel Channel for support.
"Emoji is a universal language, and hot dogs are a universal food ... As long as there's no ketchup," Ustick said.
Superdawg's hot dog emoji was designed by Jenny Pfäfflin, who was having a separate conversation about #hotdogemoji until joining forces with Superdawg.
The meeting "was kind of serendipitous, as the Internet usually is," Pfäfflin said. The design is a hot dog over a green ribbon. Green "to represent the neon green relish."
"It seems silly that in 2014 we have no hot dog emoji," she said, adding that there's debate among her friends, some of whom think the taco, which is also missing from the emoji sets, should come before the hot dog.
"But it’s a Chicago-based campaign," Pfäfflin said, brushing aside any argument. "We have to do the hot dog emoji first."
Superdawg's Change.org petition can be found here. The petition is addressed to Shigetaka Kurita, creator of the emoji app, and President Barack Obama, the nation's highest-ranking Chicagoan, and has nearly at 100 signatures by Sunday night.
"We're very optimistic" about the petition, said Ustick, the granddaughter of Maurie and Flaurie Berman, Superdawg's founders.
"As a fellow Chicagoan we would expect his support," Ustick said of Obama.