- Paramount Pictures is working with Chinese search giant Baidu on emoji and digital stickers inspired by the movie "Sonic the Hedgehog," which premiered on Feb. 14, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The digital content is available in Baidu's Facemoji Keyboard, Simeji in Japan and Baidu IME in China, giving people the chance to decorate their mobile messages with "Sonic" animated GIFs.
- Paramount previously worked with Baidu on similar digital content for the release of "Bumblebee," the latest installment in the "Transformers" movie franchise.
Paramount's collaboration with Baidu's Facemoji Keyboard is an indication that customized emoji are a powerful branding tool for mobile marketing. Facemoji can be combined into communications and content sharing among friends and family, making them ideal for brands. The movie studio's "Bumblebee" augmented reality (AR) emoji collection was downloaded 4.1 million times, while a movie sticker pack was downloaded more than 600,000 times, the companies announced last year.
Paramount is among the companies that have used emoji within broader campaigns. To promote the release of the latest "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," author Jeff Kinney collaborated with Baidu on a collection of emoji inspired by the character illustrations in the hit book series. The U.S. Forest Service last year reimagined its Smokey Bear mascot as an animated emoji for several public service announcements.
Facemoji have become more popular since Apple introduced animoji with the rollout of the iPhone X in 2018. The company ran several ad campaigns that played upon the fad of animoji karaoke, including two spots that aired during the 2018 Grammy Awards. Rival electronics maker Samsung introduced an AR emoji feature on Galaxy S9 smartphones the same year.
Emoji have become a focal point for brands, with carmakers like Ford lobbying the Unicode Consortium, which sets standards for digital characters, to expand the emoji lineup to include pickup trucks for the first time. Ford didn't get the design it had submitted, but the company last month touted the introduction of the first pickup emoji, The Truth About Cars reported. Rival General Motors trolled Ford in a tweet from its Chevy Trucks brand with its own version of a pickup truck emoji and the hashtag #NotOurTruckEmoji.