While Taco Bell has been petitioning the Unicode Consortium to add a taco emoji— albeit is very Taco Bell-looking taco– to the existing emoji system, other brands have been seeking out ways around it, riding on messaging apps’ wild popularity to extend their brand.
Mentos got their own emojis, using their colorful rounded product as the base for some fun designs on the Ultratext messaging platform. Last month, both Ikea and Coca-Cola released their own branded emojis, with Ikea’s emojis notably containing a very cute plate of Swedish meatballs.
On Snapchat, General Electric developed a periodic table of elements and now, Comedy Central’s Broad City has a line of emojis using the show’s jokes which can be downloaded as a separate app.
It’s no wonder there’s a ton of brand interest in this space, as long as mobile messaging apps continue to accrue a ton of users. While in total, mobile apps have grown 115 percent , message apps have led much of that growth at 316 percent, surpassing gaming and social networking apps. It is, according to Flurry, the fastest-growing app category, but largely ignored by many brands.
In the US alone, 23 percent of smartphone users use IM services as opposed to SMS, but messaging app use is much more mature in other countries like Spain, Singapore and South Korea, where these apps are the dominant form of communication on mobile.
“The benefit of this type of marketing is that you are not interrupting or seeking to changing consumer behavior, but rather adding content into an existing, frequent behavior. If the content is good, people will use it and engage with it,” said venture captial firm Greycroft Partners’ Ellie Wheeler.
Taco Bell may be waiting with bated breath to see the inclusion of the taco alongside the pizza and hamburger emojis, but for now, some savvy marketers are having no problem finding their way into messaging.
Beyond Ikea’s and Coke’s branded product emojis, it would certainly be interesting to see more character-oriented emoji’s similar to Broad City. What would League of Legends and Marvel emojis look like, for example
And what about Facebook’s growing bevy of chat stickers that are no longer relegated to just the Messenger app, but can be used in conversations on posts in-stream Will opportunities for branded stickers be created there, too
It’s clear that we’re moving away from text-based messaging to a much more enhanced messaging experience, whether it’s emojis, video, photos and more, and any brand who figures out creative opportunities to break into the new ways in which we communicate is ahead of the curve.