About a month or two ago, I was watching a movie at the cinema and Schick featured a new ad (and I HATE HATE HATE that companies are putting commercials in movie theaters) that communicated its message through emojis. Now, I doubt I have to explain what an emoji is to the millennials, but for those of us that actually prefer to use the written word to communicate, an emoji is a little picture that can be cute or ugly or just plain stupid that is supposed to represent a feeling, much the same way that web speak developed the emoticon back in the 90s. Consider emojis kind of like emoticon 2.0.
The emoticon was created because in a text-only communication channel, the subtle nuances of non-verbal communication are lost. A sideways glance, a mischievous grin, a shrug that would otherwise provide context and mitigate the meaning of a sentence need some way to convey sarcasm or humor in shorthand without having to type out “I’m not serious about that, it is just a joke” or “I’m really bummed about something and I don’t feel like typing it all out.” Millennials really embraced the emoji and have use it liberally on facebook and instagram to comment on friends posts for years now. The emoji, coupled with texting shorthand, have destroyed much of the English language as it spreads across the globe.
These millennials have now infiltrated marketing companies and are trying to spread their illiterate shorthand into the mainstream by creating commercials with animated emojis, actors playing emojis or people being forced to communicate with only emojis. Schick has people dressed like emojis dancing around telling people how much better their life would be if they shaved with Schick products. Pepsi recreated their famous Cindy Crawford commercial done entirely with 3D emojis and Chevrolet asks a focus group to rate their car using only emojis. Why? That’s the million dollar question.
Emojis, like their predecessor the emoticon, represent feelings, not actual concrete ideas, so marketers can use a singularly Pathos appeal to drive their message, without providing anything substantial like facts or data or logic to entice the market to adopt their product. The millennial generation is all about feelings. We see this all over the place, from TV and films to the internet, as millennials bemoan how offended they are by the reality of the world. Even the Olympics is getting to be all about feelings as people complain about a white, male, multi-gold medal winning champion bearing the American flag in the processional because it hurts Muslims feelings. What emoji might that earn?
Emojis say nothing of substance. They convey feelings, but only those of the sender. It is not a medium for real communication and it is not a serious way to entice me to buy a product or service. In fact, I am actually so put out with emojis that using them in messaging is a sure fire way to drive my business to the competition. Down with Emojis.