Hillary Clinton is coming to a keyboard near you.
Mobile messaging marketing firm Snaps released Text With Hill, an emoji keyboard chock-full of cartoon images and GIFs of the Democratic presidential candidate. Supporters can send stickers asking their colleagues to "get your pantsuit on" or proclaim "I can't I'm busy breaking glass ceilings." Of course, there's the requisite image of Hillary chatting on a cellphone and changing into various colors of pantsuits.
"After going to Hillary's first few rallies, one of the things that jumped out at me was her need to reach the millennial demographic," said Snaps founder and Clinton supporter Vivian Rosenthal. "She skews female, but she doesn't skew young. Obama did a great job of using Facebook, but now the numbers show that younger demographics are spending the majority of time on messaging apps."
While Clinton's campaign did not commission or have any involvement in the creation of the Hillary-branded emojis, Rosenthal met with her digital team and offered her product as a pro-bono service.
The Clinton campaign declined to comment on the Snaps emojis. However, her team in the past has tried various social and digital media techniques to reach younger voters, and it got some negative backlash in August when it asked Twitter users to tweet about the college debt crisis using emojis.
With more people seeking out ways to reach millennials on their mobile phones—whether that's to earn their vote or get them to buy their products—many companies are turning to mobile marketing services like Snaps to help make them hip with younger consumers using branded emojis. Snaps has previously done work with companies including Burger King, Sony Pictures, Victoria's Secret, L'Oreal and the Los Angeles Kings.
Another mobile messaging marketing company, YourMoji, lets brands sponsor emojis and GIFs. YourMoji lets its users create their own emojis with in-app editing software and customize their own keyboard from their favorite images. For example, a company could slap a logo on a looped clip of highlights from sports events or sponsor template emoji. Rather than having to download an entire keyboard each time,
"What we've done is look at the keyboard as a new channel, and we can pump any kind of media in there," said YourMoji co-founder Perry LaForge.
For one, these companies say that these mini-images can help get the word out a company or person better than any billboard or TV commercial thanks to their massive mobile reach. Snaps' work for Burger King—which included a Chicken Fries-themed emoji keyboard, as well as promoted content on Kik and Kanvas—resulted in 3.5 million branded conversations, with 925,000 consumers sharing branded content within friends.
But, perhaps more important is the fact that thanks to digital downloads, companies can get data on whether the messaging is working. Snaps commissioned a survey of Gen-Z and Millennials who downloaded the Burger King content. Fifty-five percent were more favorable to Chicken Fries, 39 percent were more likely to buy the product and 36 percent were more likely to recommend the food item to their friends.
Snaps' competitor Swyft Media co-founder Evan Wray said those insights are valuable for brands, who can then use the data to inform their other advertising campaigns. Wray points out that with ad blockers limiting digital advertising, branded emojis are a way to get in front on consumers or voters who want your companies messaging.
It's worked with Ford, MillerCoors, Bratz dolls and even Aleteia.org to create "popemojis" to get the youth excited about the papal visit. Brand partners are given data on total downloads, shares, how many times the content was viewed, how many hours people were engaged with the materials and more.
"We can create content in a way that spawns sharable content in our network, but we have a whole bunch of back-end technologies for our users to access," Wray explained. "We can provide impressions to download numbers to most popular content to social sentiment, a lot of really insightful analytics to complete that whole campaign."
Snaps' Rosenthal hopes that the Text With Hillary keyboard will help spread the word about the candidate.
"It dawned on me that this was the right time to do something for the campaign that would help her be more relevant and fun to millennials in the messaging space," she said. "Hopefully we'll be able to get people involved, whether it's to start a conversation using Hillary emojis or get them to donate their money and time."