and the


emoji evolution

Animojis and the unstoppable emoji evolution.

September 25th 2017 / by Louisa Saddington

For me, it all started with MSN messenger. The Microsoft chat service which captured the attention of bored teenagers across the world. But back in the early 2000s, we weren’t talking emoji, we were talking emoticons. And even typing that now, I’m swept with a wave of nostalgia for BRBs, wink faces, and song lyric statuses.

It seems quaint that back then we had so few emoticons to choose from. The current Emojipedia, an encyclopedia I never knew existed, lists 2,666 unique emojis. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that emoji has established itself as a whole new language, with a massive 92% uptake by the world’s online population.

Brands can’t resist but get on board. We’ve blogged before about the digital innovation by PLAY client Domino’s, and we’ll mention them again as one of the first brands to successfully apply the use of emoji to a commercial outcome. The tweet 🍕 to order has become a textbook case study, disrupting the Pizza ordering process with a single emoji. Holden’s latest campaign has no car in sight, instead, their Aussie billboards feature just a handful of simple emojis: Holden 💯 Hr 👍⏱🏃

Here at Play, emojis are a much-loved feature of our employee recognition platform. Did someone nail a client presso? We shoot them some points along with one of these 💁. Her raised hand and sassy stare shares praise in volumes that words never could. It’s this versatility that takes an emoji, technically defined as the information desk female, into so many other meanings and interpretations. 

And now, welcoming Animoji (as in emoji, but animated – duh). The iPhone X announcement left people divided – those who lament Apple is unoriginal and those who were pretty excited. I certainly fell into the latter camp. Why? Because if emojis are a reflection of our emotions, then what could be more emotive than Animoji mimicking your facial expressions and using your voice. Sure, Apple is just flexing it facial recognition prowess but I genuinely can’t wait to start sending and receiving these.

They say languages are fading faster than endangered species. Yet visual language is uniting us online more than ever. Will emoji become an official language of the UN? Or as irrelevant as my MSN username. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see 🔮.