The rise of the emoji is an interesting phenomenon in our tech-savy world. Our earliest ancestors utilized pictographs and ideograms to represent physical items and ideas. However, as the alphabet system evolved and spread through the cultures of the world, our system of naming and signifying objects became enhanced and more complicated. Over the past 25 years, however, more and more people started to turn to the modern hieroglyphic, the emoji, to express their ideas.
If you are a bit confused about what an emoji is, don’t fret. From Wikipedia:
“Emoji … are the ideograms or smileys used in Japanese electronic messages and Web pages, the use of which is spreading outside Japan. Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji literally means “picture” (e) + “character” (moji). The characters are used much like ASCII emoticons or kaomoji, but a wider range is provided, and the icons are standardized and built into the handsets… Emoji have become increasingly popular after their international inclusion in Apple’s iPhone, which was followed by similar adoption by Android and other mobile operating systems.”
Advertising campaigns have long relied upon symbols to express brand ideals, and that facet was not lost on a new generation of marketers that are fluent in emojis. Taco Bell successfully petitioned the Unicode Consortium (the non-profit regulatory body for written computer text coding standards) to introduce a taco emoji. Domino’s upped the ante by allowing customers to tweet a pizza emoji via Twitter to initiate a delivery.
However, Coca Cola’s new partnership with Twitter seems to be a truly game-changing move.
Twitter began introducing unique emojis to correspond to events earlier this year, including a highly-praised campaign that found users tweeting about the new Star Wars movie. Many at the time thought that the unique emojis could be used to generate revenue through advertising sales. It would appear those people were correct: TechCrunch reports that the #shareacoke hashtag will also display a unique emoji featuring two bottles of Coke.
Will other advertisers jump on this unique and new form of marketing? TechCrunch notes that Twitter’s long-standing relationship with Coca-Cola gives them the right to try out new initiatives together, but I would not be surprised if most major brands are working out ways to use their own emojis for social media engagement.