‘Strat-Off’: World Emoji Day

Date: 17 July, 2017

Article Image

Our Strategy team have recently introduced ‘Chategy’, a weekly meet-up and chat about industry trends and topics. This week turned into quite the debate. When Strategy gets into a ‘Strat-off’, it’s just like when Derek and Hansel get into a walk-off!


This week’s topic: In celebration of World Emoji Day, the rise of the emoji and whether or not they’re killing language.

Darius Pasalar and Sarah Walsh gave their two cents. First up is Darius.

Here’s something fun.

Take a word, any word. Then say it 50 times over and over again. By the end the word means nothing. This process of pointless repetition slowly robs the word of its meaning and temporarily kills it.

As marketers and advertisers, we’re serial killers of words. We collectively identify a select few words then, as a group, kill them. Words like innovative, movement, empower, engage, disrupt, and game changer are all a pile of bones at this point.

The process of how we choose to use, or misuse words, is important.

Here’s something not fun.

Emoji are the pointless process that will kill the words we use to express emotions. Okay that’s a tad dramatic. But on my wedding day I don’t want to tell my wife how much I love her with a string of manic yellow faces. Or when she leaves me, be consoled by my family with a solitary sad face and wine glass emoji.

As marketers and advertisers, emoji are a part of how we do, or shall communicate. But shouldn’t we set an example to encourage caution? Let’s use them in the same way we use the stranger bits of punctuation like the semicolon and exclamation mark. With trepidation, mild annoyance, and most importantly infrequency.

Next, Sarah jumps to the defence of the emoji.

In Defence of Emojis

Emojis have been getting a lot of bad press lately. And I’m not going to stand for it any more.😤

The consensus seems to be that they are largely to blame for killing language. But this is classic reluctance to change, something we’ve seen play out countless times throughout history. From Socrates fearing the printed press would make us forgetful to newspapers making us less social or radio reducing the time we spent reading. Most recently, the always reliable Daily Mail even ran an article on how Facebook could increase your risk of cancer. Every generation fears new technologies. And this won’t change.

But I wonder have they ever looked at it from the other side?

Cast your mind back to 2008. Social media was the new toy of the moment and was rapidly sucking us into its addictive vortex. But the Facebooks and Twitters of the time had a major flaw. They forced us to communicate largely in text, sometimes even enforcing a character limit. The problem with this, of course, was that it didn’t mimic real life – where it is estimated that communication is 93% non-verbal. Things like body language and tone all contribute to adding layers of depth and meaning to our conversations. And this is what makes us human.

[what happens when all we have to communicate with is text]

Skip forward almost 10 years and social media is a completely different place. No longer restricted to text alone, we now have a wealth of options to add much needed context and compensate for the absence of body language and tone. Memes, gifs and notably emojis have transcended geography and rather than replacing language, have in fact enhanced how we communicate online.


And for those who still don’t believe me and think emojis are nothing more than a yellow blob on your screen, turns out even the most basic form of digital image can mimic real life interactions. A 2014 study showed that the human brain reacted to emoticons the same way we do to a human face. So think again before you discount this guy 🙂

Stay tuned for next week’s ‘Strat-Off’

More news

Mind The Data Gap – Why a marketer-led intelligence eco-system is the key to unlocking brand growth.
27th August 2021

Mind The Data Gap – Why a marketer-led intelligence eco-system is the key to unlocking brand growth.

Rothco Presents: Cannes Watch 2021
23rd June 2021

Rothco Presents: Cannes Watch 2021

Rothco Introduce Adorable Little Homemaker in Summer Campaign for Woodie’s
26th April 2021

Rothco Introduce Adorable Little Homemaker in Summer Campaign for Woodie’s