Are Emoji’s the new (smiley) face of Marketing?

When Facebook augmented their ‘Like’ feature with 5 new emoji reactions it seemingly became a catalyst for major advertisers to jump on the bandwagon. Evidence? Appboy, the mobile marketing automation vendor, have studied over 9,000 marketing campaigns and discovered that emoji usage has increased almost 8x in the past year.

No surprise there. Brands have always been quick to latch onto consumer trends and key players such as Coca Cola and MTV have already created custom emojis on platforms such as Twitter. For the launch of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney produced 3 emojis to promote the movie. Promojis if you will (see what I did there?). They proved to be so incredibly successful that Lucasfilm have since released a further 50 characters.

Domino’s have gone one stage further and added an e-commerce element to their usage. Customers can now actually place an order by simply texting or tweeting a little pizza emoji (a Pizzoji ?) although goodness knows how they can work out what toppings the customer wants. And US based fast food giants Taco Belllobbied the Unicode Consortium (the global standardisation body for emojis – yes, believe it, there is such a thing) to have a taco emoji (a Tacoji ?) added to all official messaging platforms. Their petition received more than 32,000 signatures. The result? Unicode did indeed add a Tacoji in 2015 but the consortium were quick to point out that the petitions had played no part in its selection. Yeah right.

So why do brands and businesses suddenly love emojis? Well according to Marie Dolle, digital expert at Kantar it’s pretty simple:

 “companies want to be liked and emojis are seen as fun and on-intrusive. For many younger consumers emojis are becoming as familiar as company logos are for older ones”

And beyond emojis for products, some companies have even had their logos converted into emojis. Several brands such as Pepsi, Dove and Victoria’s Secret have had theirs converted by companies such as Snaps who specialise in ‘Logojis’ (sorry but I’m on a roll). According to their CEO, Christian Brucculeri:

“emojis present a way of getting brands into a private environment. It’s driving engagement into the places where people are having intimate conversations”

Pepsi have gone ‘all in’ and launched uniquely designed emoji cans and bottles in more than 100 global markets in a big push for Summer 2016. They have called them PepsiMojis (clearly they have cottoned on to my vibe) and they will appear on physical packaging, cleverly bridging retail marketing with digital marketing. And all without a single word being used.

So all this got me wondering what other emojis could be produced next? A Trumpoji for Donald maybe? A Rubberoji for Durex? And who knows, given the clear connection between the two maybe they could use them together? 😉