U.S. Hispanic shop Zubi Advertising noticed a lack of Latino-related emojis and is releasing a collection of 267 emojis inspired by the food, culture and people of six Latin markets.
Just as Unilever's Dove discovered emojis all had straight hair and launched the Dove Love Your Curls Emoji Keyboard earlier this month, Zubi collected recognizable icons from Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
The Latino Emojis can be downloaded free from iTunes or Google Play. The app downloads a custom keyboard that lets users select and paste the icons into a text message.
"We knew the Latino Emojis would be a hit because Latinos are arguably the most expressive individuals in the world—we wear our hearts, passion and excitement on our faces and in our cultural choices and preferences," said Michelle Zubizarreta, chief administrative officer at Zubi, an independent Miami-based agency with about 124 staffers of many nationalities.
Ms. Zubizarreta said each Latino Emoji was designed at Zubi by someone from that country. She said Zubi is looking at adding El Salvador, Uruguay and the Dominican Republic.
The images depicting food, culture, popular expressions and people are fun to discover, and learn about. Icons for Colombia include a cup of steaming coffee and a key (the Spanish word for key, "llave," is Colombian for "dude!") Cuba has mojitos and salsa queen Celia Cruz. Puerto Rico's images include the ubiquitous local coqui frog, and a lettuce because a shameless Puerto Rican is a "lettuce face" ("cara de lechuga").
The agency hasn't presented the Latino Emojis to Zubi's clients yet. "We wanted to see the traction they got to be able to have a better case study to present to them," she said.
Zubi's biggest client, Ford Motor Co., is already an emoji fan. The car maker's branded emoji campaign in September in conjunction with mobile platform Swyft Media generated 25,000 daily downloads of its Ford Focus digital stickers. The stickers featured images of Ford Focus automobiles coupled with phrases such as "Let's Go!" and "Drive Safe!"