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Macy?s first emoji keyboard supplements fall campaign

Macy?s first emoji effort arrives with the fall 2016 campaign for its exclusive I.N.C. International Concepts apparel brand, which includes complementary digital stickers, GIFs and emojis starring fashion legend Iris Apfel and her signature quotes and items.

Macy?s foray into the realm of emoji keyboards suggests that other apparel marketers may soon see the potential in carving out a bigger presence on mobile messaging applications used by a plethora of millennial consumers. The I.N.C. brand?s emojis will also appear throughout other campaign channels and materials, such as digital ads, direct mail clippings and product hangtags.

?The data shows that mobile messaging is the number one place where mobile users are spending their time,? said Chris Brown, vice president of product marketing at Snaps, the developer behind I.N.C.?s emoji keyboard.

?It's important for apparel and accessories brands to connect with their brand loyalists where they?re communicating and sharing content with their friends. Emojis are native content within messaging applications, so it's natural for a retailer to empower brand advocacy by creating an emoji keyboard.?

Egging on emojis
The fall 2016 I.N.C. International Concepts marketing campaign stars Iris Apfel in print and digital ads. I.N.C. sought to add a millennial-friendly twist into the campaign by rolling out a corresponding emoji keyboard, which can be used to send stickers and GIFs through mobile messaging apps.

The keyboard includes a variety of GIFs, emojis and stickers featuring Ms. Apfel, her well-known quotes and products from the new ?Iris Meets I.N.C.? collection.

The emojis also encompass lifestyle categories, such as food and beverage, beauty and a slew of birthday-themed graphics in honor of Ms. Apfel?s upcoming ninety-fifth birthday later this month.

Ms. Apfel, perhaps best known as an interior designer and fashion icon, also has a jewelry line with HSN.

The ?Iris Meets I.N.C.? collection features 40 apparel and jewelry pieces that showcase the impending ?mod? trend revival.

Shoppers may spot the new emojis on the items? hangtags, as well as on direct mail materials and digital ads.

The INCmojis keyboard, which was developed with input from Ms. Apfel, can be downloaded for free from the Apple App and Google Play Stores.

Mobilizing retail
The INCmojis keyboard marks Macy?s first jump into emojis. A slew of other retailers and consumer packaged goods brands have already hopped on the emoji bandwagon, an action that has enabled them to perfect the art of subliminal brand messaging among mobile app users.

For example, online adult toy retailer Adam & Eve is appealing to consumers by offering a fun emoji keyboard it has deemed ?naughty? for sharing images of products with others on mobile messaging applications (see story).

L?Oreal is also jumping into the social conversation among beauty fans by giving them an emoji keyboard that seamlessly incorporates the marketer's brands into messages and driving awareness of the new icons with a contest (see story).

However, Macy?s foray into emojis could prompt other major chains to take notice and consider rolling out their own iterations, especially ahead of the busy holiday retail season.

?We think that keyboards, and specifically native content marketing within messaging applications, will continue to be a large trend for retail brands,? Mr. Brown said. ?There is some groundbreaking functionality on the horizon with the release of iOS 10, iMessage and chatbots on Facebook Messenger that is perfect for retail brands.

?We believe we are on the cusp of the first true wave of social commerce and showing direct ROI through social experiences within mobile.?