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Emoji

Do you <3 emojis or do they make you :(

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By Dom Burch, managing director

December 7, 2015 | 5 min read

Oxford Dictionaries declared an emoji its ‘word’ of the year 2015.

Do emojis make you laugh or cry?

World emoji day is penned in for 17 July, so there's still plenty of time to practice if you're a novice like me.

Some people even like to dress up like emojis and hold emoji parties. I jest you not. Google it.

I must admit I tend not to venture very far from the tried and tested smiley face :)

But you may have read recently KitKat is now trying to get the Unicode Consortium to recognise /‘\, as a registered emoji, meaning of course 'take a break'.

It's a smart move.

It's fair to say KitKat is on fire at the moment as a brand. The other week it successfully weaved its way into Black Friday.

The month before, Nestle revealed consumer awareness for its KitKat brand was at a five-year high as a direct result of a tie-up with Google which saw it rebrand wrappers and work with YouTuber Marcus Butler on a series of films.

And now it is muscling in on the emoticon market.

KitKat's attempt follows hot on the heels of Taco Bell which campaigned for a Taco emoji earlier this year.

As the brand put it on its Change.org page at the time: "Why do pizza and hamburger lovers get an emoji but taco lovers don’t? Why do we need four different types of mailboxes? Or 25 different types of clocks? Or a VCR tape and floppy disk emoji? No one even uses those things anymore."

Fair point.

Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji comes from Japanese e (絵, "picture") + moji (文字, "character"). The apparent resemblance to English "emotion" and "emoticon" is just a coincidence according to Wikipedia.

Either way not everyone is happy about brands getting in on the act.

The Next Web penned a rather snotty piece about the recent trend, 'Give us a break KitKat, emojis ain’t free ad slots', pointing out that the proposed universal symbol for shopping (a blue trolley/cart) looks remarkably similar to a famous logo of an online store. No prizes for guessing which one.

"...this opens the door to brands invading our personal in-joke space, enlisting us as pawns in something that should cost advertisers cash to do."

I'm a bit more relaxed about it if I'm honest. But then again Asda has form when it comes to symbolising its own famous mnemonic and pocket tap.

Previously the Royal Association of the Deaf made the pocket tap the official sign for Asda. If you've ever been to Tunisia or Egypt you'll know market traders in souks across the world have long used it to cross the international language barriers.

'Come see, come see, Asda price, Asda price (tap, tap).'

You could argue the Asda Pocket Tap after 35 years is now so famous that it too deserves to be an emoji symbolising low prices or save money.

In all 74 new emojis have been recommended for release next year.

At the May 2016 UTC meeting a final determination will be made for ones to be added to Unicode 9.0 for launch in June 2016.

We wait with anticipation.

I'm also pleased to see the drum with beating drumsticks emoji is no. 74 on the list...

Fingers crossed peeps. Wish us good luck.

Dom Burch, senior director of marketing innovation and new revenues at Walmart (Asda), explores the ever changing world of social media marketing in his 'Thought of the Day' blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @domburch

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