By: Francisco Cardenas, Director of Digital Strategy @chitocardenas
As the Diary of Multicultural America, Dieste Inc is well aware of how culturally relevant emojis are and the role they play today in the communication landscape. Especially embraced by millennials, but by no means limited only to them, it is safe to say emojis are here to stay as a part of THE conversation.
As we stated on our entry “We’re all in this together, until we’re not”, Apple at the time had announced the introduction of ‘Multicultural Emojis.’ Now that they are here, as we hinted to our readers, they’ve already created controversy. It’s hard to please the crowd, but it’s even harder to please the diverse crowd.
Here’s what happened:
The Clorox Twitter account, normally handled with style and grace (believe it or not, 88k plus people follow bleach on Twitter), jumped into the conversation when they saw that Apple’s new emojis had several household items, but bleach was not one of them.
Unfortunately for them, there were some that interpreted the tweet as offensive, implying that the brand was trying to say that all racially diverse emojis should be bleached back to white (although we, the very diverse editors of The Diary of Multicultural America, know they meant well).
“HA! Gotcha Clorox” said the always-attentive night watch that lurks and protects the digital socialsphere for the slightest brand generated pitfall or lack of politically correctness.
As multicultural marketing experts, we’re well aware of how sensitive these topics can be (we can also say we’ve learned the hard way). And even though this could be taken lightly in many of the countries whose citizens now comprise Multicultural America, when taken into the US context humor is left aside and anger rises like a tide on high moon. We’ve always known emojis are, well, emotional—no surprise there.
We can say the brand handled the pitfall gracefully by using a key product benefit to ask for forgiveness from the community. And Twitter life goes on. The moral of the story, expect your community reaction to be not as if you were playing checkers, but chess: expect the best, consider the worst and try to set up and think one, two, three moves ahead.