- Disney-Pixar introduced augmented reality (AR) emojis on Samsung smartphones for its promotion of the June 15 premiere of "The Incredibles 2." The AR emojis, which transform selfies into talking animated characters, are available on Samsung's Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones, the electronics company announced.
- The new AR emoji characters include all five members of the superhero family and their friend Frozone. They join other Disney characters that were part of Samsung's February launch of its animoji feature: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck.
- The "Incredibles" content pack is available directly from the Galaxy camera's built-in AR emoji mode. The technology uses more than 100 facial features to help map a smartphone user's movements and expressions, per TechCrunch.
AR continues to transform the way films are marketed on mobile devices. The new animated characters provide Disney-Pixar another way to build on public recognition of the "Incredibles" movies, and to reach younger audiences who are generally cutting back on other media like TV in favor of mobile content. Their release ultimately aims to boost buzz around the sequel's premiere and offer an entertaining and interactive element to the Samsung arsenal.
"The Incredibles" is mostly aimed at the children's audience of moviegoers, who likely aren't typical buyers of high-end smartphones like the Galaxy S9 that retails for more than $700. Emojis are growing in popularity as a way for people to communicate with one another and for brands to extend their reach among smartphone users, especially ahead of Hollywood hits to ramp up excitement for movie premieres. A December study by the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) suggested that the use of emojis may boost engagement in smartphone surveys without negatively affecting the quality of content.
Apple introduced animated emojis with the introduction of the iPhone X, and Samsung has upped the ante with branded characters on its Galaxy phones. It's somewhat surprising that Samsung and Disney are working closely together, given the long-standing relationship between Disney and Samsung rival Apple. Disney's CEO Bob Iger is a member of Apple's board, and while it remains to be seen whether Disney's characters will remain exclusive to Samsung devices, the partnership certainly doesn't hurt sales of Galaxy smartphones.