Commentary

Snaps Helps Brands Tap Into Emojis

What started as a simple smile or wink in chat rooms years ago has now become an art form, opening an entire universe of emotional expression, humor, and just plain weirdness. I’m speaking of course of the emoji, which some might argue is now the dominant form of personal expression for many people under the age of 18. And as always with an emergent youth culture phenomenon, brands aren’t far behind.

This week, for example, Twitter revealed a new series of Star Wars emojis as part of a wider promotion for the new “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” The movie isn’t due out until December 2015, but Disney is already winding up the marketing machine with tantalizing teasers (Harrison Ford is back!) and the aforementioned emojis, including one for BB-8, a new R2D2-style droid.

Also, a new company, Snaps, is helping brands tap into the emoji craze. This week Snaps announced that it had raised $6.5 million in a new round of funding, and also launched its  “Branded Messages” service, which enables advertisers to create and distribute native advertising in the form of custom branded emoji keyboards and sticker campaigns for mobile.

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In its first three months in operation, Snaps has begun creating emoji campaigns for brands including Burger King, Time Inc.’s Food & Wine, Comedy Central, The Houston Rockets, Nickelodeon, Victoria’s Secret, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and VH1.

In its most recent collaboration, Snaps worked with Trolli, a brand of the Ferrara Candy Company. The campaign includes a “TrolliMoji” app featuring sharable gummi-related emojis via a free, downloadable keyboard that can be used across messaging applications and connected devices.

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