In one of my more recent blog posts, we saw Pepsi embracing the Emoji, bridging the gap between retail and digital marketing. It was definitely a smart move for Pepsi to be one of the first companies to employ the emoji, because emoji development is trending across numerous brands.

The Kellogg Eggo’s were the latest brand to release its own emojis. AdAge stated that “over a 90-day period last year, Eggo saw nearly 1,000 mentions of people hankering for a waffle emoji.” With millennials being such a big audience for Kellogg, the brand brought social influencers to the Eggo factory in California to create the emoji waffle art where an agency partner then took pictures of the art and created digitized images with a cartoon-like emoji feel. These Eggojis, as they are being called, rolled out with a soft launch on Kik, Paltalk, and Tango apps and are now available for Android, and should be released for Apple devices soon.

Remember the Super Bowl ad that got everyone talking? #LikeAGirl! Well the Proctor & Gamble Always brand did it again by employing emojis in their advertising. If you recall during the original Always commercial, Proctor & Gamble sought to challenge traditional advertisements promoting feminine products by instead focusing on positively affecting the self-confidence of their customers. Again the Leo Burnett agency asked the Always brand consumers, young girls, if they felt the emoji options available to them reflected “who they really were.” The girls said, “they’re all mainly pink, and there are no girls in the professional emojis-unless you count being a bride as a profession…” Always conducted research which found that 70 percent of young women would like to see female emoticons portrayed more progressively, depicting professions such as lawyers or partaking in activities like wrestling and weight lifting. Michele Baetan, associate brand director and Always #LikeAGirl leader at Procter & Gamble said, “Of course, societal limitations are broader than just emojis, but when we realized that stereotypical, limiting messages are hiding in places as innocent as emojis, it motivated us to demand change.” With 81 percent of females aged 16 to 24 using emojis on a daily basis, it was about time that the Always brand worked to create commercials highlighting the current emojis and redirecting attention to what the emojis should really look like. Always is continuing to target their mission of positively affecting girls’ self-confidence.

Mentos, Coca-Cola, GE, and Comedy Central are all also employing emojis in their branding. Why are some of these brands taking to emojis? One Ikea spokesman said, “In general you could say emoticons offer a great way for brands to-potentially on a global scale-become part of the everyday conversations of people.” However, one reason some brands aren’t taking advantage of this trend is because of the difference between emojis and emoticons. The emoji keyboard which is now standard on most keyboards is comprised of emojis approved by the Unicode Consortium, and brands looking to create their own emoticons have to make their own apps or partner with apps like Kik, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Taco Bell lobbied Unicode Consortium add a taco emoji to the keyboard, but the decision is still pending. Taco Bell is thus not creating an emoticon at this time because they want the use of the emoji to be more natural to the users and be right on the standard keyboard. This doesn’t necessarily mean though that brands shouldn’t jump on board with the trend, notice that Pepsi created the emojis to be used in retail and not on the phone keyboard.

So, whether bridging the gap between retail and digital marketing or used to foster a positive emotion, emojis are being employed by more and more brands. Even President Obama was discussing the influence of emojis at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin. Mr. Obama said that audience members should develop technology to ease the voting process, mentioning that it is easier to order a pizza at Dominos, using an emoji, than it is to take part in voting. Pepsi might have been one of the first brands to utilize emojis but it is a trend that is progressing and dominating brand marketing. So if you are looking for a creative agency to develop emojis for your brand, contact Source One and we can help you choose the right agency.
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Nicole Mahaffey

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