Emoticons – Use in marketing



Src: Freepik

Emoticons can play a key role in cementing online relationships; Through them, people can communicate emotions whose imitation deepens their relationships as in real interactions.


In 1982, Scott Fahlman of Carnegie Mallon University proposed a colon, dash and parentheses as a way to express the emotional meaning of the text. Where did the idea come from?

Using symbols to show emotion is not a new idea. More than a century ago, the satirical section of Puck magazine offered several ideas for expressing emotion using typographic characters.


According to hard-to-verify sources, the use of characters that were meant to give emotional emotion to the text in conjunction with parentheses was made in 1979 by one ARPANET user, but his ideas have not gained popularity.

In recent years the language of emoji has mastered the world to such an extent that, in 2015, the word most widely accepted by Oxford Dictionaries is the laughing smiley, “Face with tears of joy.”
It is not surprising that the language of emoji is becoming more and more popular among marketing professionals specializing in promoting brands. It has been observed that their activity in the use of emoji in the last year increased by 46%. Even Google itself has launched searches with just such graphical characters.

Yellow smile

Emoticons career began with a yellow smiley face known as The Smiley. Harvey Bella’s 1963 work was commercialized several years later by Bernard and Murray of Spain, who produced millions of gadgets and popularized the image of a yellow smile.

Emoji psychology

Researchers at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Adelaide in Australia say that the human brain in recent years has so embraced the emoticons that started treating them like a human face. What does it mean? Nothing more then the fact that when we see a smiling emoticon, the pattern of brain activity is the same as when we see a smiling human face.

The researchers looked at the reactions that the images of smiling smileys, real smiling faces and other mines in the brains of the respondents. It turned out that both the real smiles and the drawn ones were positive, while the faces were drawn in the opposite direction, ie: “(-:” did not produce any reaction.) The areas responsible for facial perception did not identify this face image.

Emoticons are the new language we produce. In order to process and understand this language, we have created new patterns of brain activity, “concludes Dr. Owen Churches.

What does this information give us in  marketing?

Understanding the meaning of emoticons in human consciousness, you can give our communications a human face by using it for communication, for example in informal messages to the customer. By applying smiles, we can give our message the value and color of conversation face to face for example when we post on Facebook.


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