In August, TBWA\Dublin has therefore launched the world’s first Smiling Face Mask Emoji, to encourage people throughout the world to let go of the reticence and rumours about mask-wearing and wear one to protect themselves and others. The agency submitted a proposal to Unicode, the world standard for text and emoji, for the new creation to be added to emoji keyboards around the world.
Apply has responded and will be introducing a new smiling face mask emoji with the release of its next iOS. update.
I’ve included a quote from TBWA\Dublin below, and please do reach out if you have any questions, or would like to speak to anyone at the agency.
Amy Tumelty, social media & content specialist at TBWA\Dublin commented, “The goal of our campaign was to normalise face masks through a language we all use and understand; emojis. We created the Smiling Face Mask Emoji as a direct response to the change in global behaviour and perceptions around face mask-wearing. We are delighted that Apple have responded to #TheFaceAsk and have created a smiling face mask emoji. It will allow people to express their positive sentiments towards face coverings as a form of protection and safety for all against Covid-19. Our only hope now is that Android, Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the emoji-verse will follow suit.”
Here is the original story:
It shouldn’t matter if we like masks or not. They do a job that everyone needs them to do right now – for themselves and for one another – to contain an invader intent on spreading misery as far and wide as possible.
But, apparently, it does matter. While in some countries masks have been adopted with little resistance, this is not the case in Ireland and a world of negative associations has grown up quickly around masks, spreading rapidly across social media, triggered in no small part by the original mask-wearing emoji which is connected to sickness and sadness.
TBWA\Dublin has therefore launched the world’s first Smiling Face Mask Emoji and submitted a proposal to Unicode, the world standard for text and emoji, for the new creation to be added to emoji keyboards around the world.
Prior to the pandemic, face masks were recognised as a sign of illness. This doesn’t help mask adoption. The current face mask emoji accurately represents this sentiment – its closed eyes are visually linked to other emojis people use to express negative emotions. TBWA\Dublin’s own research using 100 Voices (the agency’s standby global panel of people prepared to give their time and views via audio notes, video responses, and Design Thinking exercises) also revealed a negative perception from audiences.
Face masks are now a sign of health, well-being, and protection. They’re a sign of safety and security. TBWA\Dublin’s new emoji allows people to support a positive sentiment around them.
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We’ve submitted a proposal to Unicode, the world standard for text and emoji, for a ‘Smiling Face Mask Emoji’ to be added to emoji keyboards around the globe. Face masks help us to protect ourselves and those around us. They’re a symbol of health, well-being and safety. That’s why we’ve created the new ‘Smiling Face Mask Emoji’ to normalise face masks. Support our campaign to have the new emoji added to the #emojikeyboard by liking, sharing or commenting here. You can join the conversation online too, using #thefaceask.
Amy Tumelty, social media and content specialist at TBWA\Dublin, commented, “You can’t scroll through your social feeds right now without coming across a conversation about face masks and how important they are. But we realised that people are using an emoji that doesn’t support their positive feelings – it seemed out-dated and unrepresentative of current perceptions. We wear face masks not only to protect ourselves and those around us, but also because they make us feel safe, secure and comfortable in public situations. Emojis have become such an integral part of online communication, so the new ‘Smiling Face Mask Emoji’ is our way of furthering the efforts to normalise face masks.”
Andrew Murray, director of social media and content at TBWA\Dublin, added, “When you take a close look at the current face mask emoji – it clearly represents ill-health or sickness. The eyes are squinting and, from our 100 Voices Research, people said that the emoji even appears to be wincing. This emoji has its place. It can represent sadness or sickness. But the world has changed over the past six months. Wearing a mask can help to stop the spread of Covid-19. So we need to remove any negative connotations around mask wearing – and show it to be a positive thing that will help you and protect others. Kids (and some adults – myself included!) have entire conversations using only emojis – if this emoji addition can help in some small way to normalise mask wearing and make it less of a ‘scary thing’ for some people – it may even save a life.”