Great emoji army is on the march

By Tupac Pointu In Paris ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-08-22 08:14:46

Great emoji army is on the march

Emoji characters also known as emoticons on two mobile phones. [Miguel Medina/AFP] 

Everyone speaks emoji, and now advertisers do too.

Catching on to the digital era's cross-cultural language of choice, advertisers have learned to speak emoji in a world where promotional videos are ignored and ad banners are blocked.

Tiny digital pizza and French fries icons, and pictures of animals and planes are being used to advertise fast food, airlines and even NGOs.

Emoji characters have become at least as pervasive as smartphones, and users are moving away from communication platforms that allow advertising towards networks that do not, said Marie Dolle, a digital media content specialist at Kantar Media.

In their online advertising campaigns, the World Wildlife Fund charity and Domino's Pizza have tapped into the bank of emoji icons universally approved by the Unicode Consortium, the non-profit group that develops and maintains digital standards.

In May, McDonald's, a pioneer in emoji advertising, launched its own digital stickers package that allows users to insert pictures of Big Macs, sundaes and chicken nuggets into their Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or text messages.

Disney and Duracell have commissioned Feeligo, a start-up in Paris, to create their brand stickers. Last winter, Duracell's iconic pink bunny was shared 20 million times.

Swedish low-cost home wares giant Ikea also launched an emoji range depicting its products this year, from furniture to the meatballs sold in its cafeterias.

Emoji advertising is just as much about communication and having a sense of humour as it is about branding. "Stickers have to represent emotions. A logo doesn't work by itself," said Feeligo co-founder Davide Bonapersona, whose campaigns have spread to several European countries and which often cost clients less than traditional formats. "Depending on the target, we are looking at 20,000 to 100,000 euros ($22,000 to $110,000)," Bonapersona said.

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