As we wrapped up some client work yesterday, I was reminded of a pretty powerful stat from this 2015 NY Times article: 4 in 10 millennials said they’d rather communicate with pictures than with words.
With millennials being the hot demographic to reach these days, it’s no surprise that brands are continually experimenting with pictorial campaign tactics. One of the biggest trends of late is brand adoption of emoji; in fact, ⚽️ is the 2nd most widely used emoji by brands worldwide, just behind ✨ and ahead of ☕️. Usage data from a recent Sprout Social study on emoji marketing further illustrates the power of visual and emotional communication:
As you’d expect, advertising technology is trying to put science behind the use of these cute little images with Digiday recently reporting on the current state of emoji ROI evaluation. ????
Soccer marketing is certainly no stranger to this phenomenon. Some of my favorite examples of emoji / emoji-influenced tactics are shown below, judged purely for entertainment value and fun (my own sophisticated, proprietary model, of course):
Twitter unveiled the #hashflag ahead of World Cup 2010, but it was World Cup 2014 that really propelled the hashtag-driven emoji flag into mainstream.
Since then, the concept has spilled over into almost every sports league, competition and happening. Last year, the Premier League partnered with Twitter ahead of their annual #DeadlineDay while Heineken and MLS just unveiled their hashtag-driven #RivalryWeek campaign which brings an emoji style match ball graphic into your Tweet.
Adidas ‘Boss Everyone’
The use of emoji in Adidas’ most recent soccer campaign is almost as ubiquitous as the cleats themselves. Beyond the well placed use across digital and social media, Adidas brought emoji onto field-side stadium LED in just about every important soccer league worldwide. Paired with neon colors and a youthful call-to-action, this strategy gets a big ????.
Pepsi Max #MaxFootball
Pepsi recruited some of the top soccer players worldwide for a global campaign that will see it place emojis onto its packaging in an effort to win over younger drinkers. The #Maxfootball campaign will be fronted by Man City striker Sergio Agüero, Real Madrid star James Rodríguez, Belgian captain Vincent Kompany, Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez and Manchester United keeper David de Gea. Check out their ???? campaign video here, and be on the lookout for this art all summer long:
Futbol Artist Network x Alcatel Emoji App
Surely a bit of self-bias here, as this is the aformentioned client work we just wrapped up, but I hope you’ll agree it’s worthy of the list. Starting tomorrow in New York for the Hudson River Derby, then coming to Los Angeles for the Cali Clasico, Alcatel is unveiling a custom set of NYCFC and LA Galaxy player emoji available inside of the Futbol Artist Network emoji sticker app. Fans who stop by Alcatel’s stadium experience on match day can receive a code and download these ???? emoji for instant use. Additional player packs will be unveiled throughout the season, but we start by offering some heavy hitters in each market. Be sure to stop by, grab your code and message away!