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Milk Industry Brands an Emoticon

— February 27, 2007 — Tech
In an effort to connect with younger audiences, the ad agency behind the "Got Milk" campaign has unveiled what is considered to be the world's first branded emoticon. Lowe NY and the Milk Processor Education Program hope that teenagers will adopt the "milk mustache smiley face," consisting of a traditional smiley face with an added bracket, into their SMS (text), instant message, and email communications. The icon has turned up on Milk-branded videos on YouTube, Milk's MySpace page, and is anticipated to be adapted into future celebrity ads.

Personally, I don't see this catching on as well as the agency hopes. I can't speak for the masses, but my personal history with milk in my text messages and IM convos is kind of slim. "New Message: christ i'm thirsty :-{)" Yeah, not happening. This illustrates a major point in consumer-content though; by turning this concept "over to the masses" if you will, Lowe loses control of the message. So if some punk in Minnesota decides that he can get more use out of the emoticon by making it a reference to what he and his girlfriend did last night, Milk's brand investment falls apart pretty quickly. "New Message: did u see american idol last night? i miss antonella barba :-{)" I can also see it becoming a wireless spin off of that "finger mustache tattoo" trend of yesterday. Either way, Lowe and the milk industry have to accept that when they put the target audience at the helm of the ship, they no longer get to be captain, and the ship is going to go wherever they want it to go.

Besides, everyone knows that the equal sign smiley face is far superior to the colon smiley face anyway. =)

Bobby's Prediction: :-{(
Trend Themes
1. Branded Emoticons - Emoticons are becoming a new marketing tool for brands to connect with younger audiences and enhance their communication strategies.
2. User-generated Content - Allowing users to create and share custom emoticons gives brands the opportunity to engage with their audience on a personal level and encourage creativity.
3. Loss of Control in Branding - Brands need to be aware that when they involve the target audience in creating content, they run the risk of losing control of the brand message and perception.
Industry Implications
1. Advertising - Brands can utilize branded emoticons in their advertising campaigns to create a unique and engaging user experience.
2. Messaging Apps - Messaging apps can explore integrating branded emoticons into their platforms to offer users a wider range of expressive options while also generating revenue through licensing partnerships.
3. Social Media - Social media platforms can leverage branded emoticons as a way for brands to connect with their followers and increase brand awareness through user-generated content.
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