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Food & Wine smiles on emoji keyboards to connect to fans

Time Inc.'s culinary publication Food & Wine has launched an emoji and branded sticker keyboard application to expand its consumer reach and become a staple in the food-and-beverage culture of mobile-savvy consumers.

The foodie publication?s keyboard app allows users to choose from a wide array of shareable branded content such as GIFs, emojis and stickers that encapsulate everyday consumer interests, to better identify with them and spread brand awareness. The content encompasses a wide range of food and beverage categories, rather than having exclusively brand-related stickers, allowing for a broader audience and user base. 

"Instead of imagery of average burgers, cocktails and other classic foods, Food & Wine emojis stand out because they represent exceptional, real-life foods, drinks and personalities that our fans are obsessed with, such as the real Cronut from Dominique Ansel's bakery and smoked meat sandwiches from Mile End Deli," said Dana Cowin, editor in chief of Food & Wine. "The people who are represented in our emoji keyboard, such as Mario Batali and Carla Hall, are helping us reach even more obsessed foodies as they share with their followers.

"Our goal is to connect with fans on mobile in the most irresistible and engaging way, and also to build awareness of Food & Wine as the forward-thinking, fun brand that can fuel their food excitement," she said. 

Integrated keyboards
Users can download the app in the iTunes App Store and Google Play. From there, users add the keyboard into their messaging applications. 

The keyboard can be used through numerous messaging applications such as iMessage, SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and mobile email. Examples of GIFs featured in the app are images of champagne sabering, TV personality chef Carla Hall dancing along with emojis such as ant-covered shrimp, another well-known chef riding a Vespa, images of various food and drink and drawings of wine bottles. 

The app will be frequently updated to continually fit user interests. Food & Wine is hoping to become a staple in not just foodie consumers, rather anyone and everyone. 
This keyboard allows them to do this with the broad range of emojis and content. Emoji keyboards are an exceptional way of allowing consumers to spread brand awareness rather than a brand forcing advertising content on them. 

Letting fans take control of advertising and marketing is an authentic method of connecting with new consumers and spreading its range. 

Emoji importance
The visual aspect of emojis, GIFs and branded stickers is highly advantageous for brands as it quickly draws the consumer eye. Incorporating emojis in any fashion can make a substantial difference for brands. 

Recently, boot manufacturer The Frye Company recognized that and leveraged Instagram?s new emoji hashtags as part of a contest that coincides with the finale of the brand's 20-part docuseries and helps cement its image as a craft-focused brand by encouraging consumers to include emojis of a boot and hammer (see more). 

Logo reality contest show RuPaul?s Drag Race and footwear retailer Foot Locker are also recent brands to join in on the latest mobile marketing trend, emoji keyboard applications, in an effort to connect further with fans (see more). 

"This will bring Food & Wine into the daily conversations of its readers," said Christian Brucculeri, CEO of Snaps, the keyboard developer. "We have driven well over 50mm organic engagements across our network, and over the course of launching dozens of brands into messaging we have learned that great content in the right place drives massive engagement for brands. 

"Food & Wine has filled some key gaps in the traditional food emoji library (Sriracha sauce, for example), and so we expect an elevation of  food-based conversations in messaging thanks to this initiative," he said. "Consumers have shifted their time and attention from broadcast-first social platforms to more intimate messaging conversations with smaller groups. 

"Keyboards are the first end point that allows brands to organically join and influence these conversations. For all brands, being part of daily conversations keeps you relevant, recent and top of mind."

Final take 
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistnat at Mobile Marketer