Exactly 52 years after The Beatles made their historical debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, Sir Paul McCartney is bringing his musical talents to the world of emoji.
Microsoft-owned Skype has enlisted the help of McCartney to create a new group of 10 moving emoticons, which Skype calls Mojis, for the mobile and desktop versions of its app. The new "Love" Mojis include characters such as Sumo Cupid, Excited Octopus, and Flirting Banana.
These animated characters wiggle and gyrate to short chords of non-lyrical music or the occasional "doo dee doo deeeeee" from Sir Paul himself. They are timed to Valentine’s Day, because who wouldn’t want to receive a flirtatious banana emoji that peels off its own fibrous skin on Valentine’s Day, am I right?
A flirtatious banana emoji peeling itself to the sweet sweet sounds of Sir Paul
Skype even gave a small group of journalists, myself included, a look at a behind-the-scenes video in which Sir Paul taps on keyboard keys, strums his guitar, and murmurs sounds, all a part of the Moji creation process.
Apart from a label that states this group of Mojis was created by McCartney, they don’t include any distinguishing characteristics of McCartney (or The Beatles). Skype says it went through many iterations of these emoticons and decided that it wanted to create new expressive content that paired with McCartney’s original music, but did not want to overburden the message.
Skype first introduced partner-driven custom emoji in September of last year, rolling out around 150 different video clips and animation options from Universal Studios, BBC, and the Disney Muppets. And in October, it added clips from popular Bollywood TV shows and movies, along with emoji honoring Indian food, holidays, and traditions.
The inclusion of culturally-relevant and celebrity-branded content is clearly part of Skype’s larger strategy to keep people using its messaging platform, which is still considered the go-to video chat application for many but on the mobile side has been surpassed by apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat. Skype doesn’t break out user numbers for video, audio, and text messaging functions across desktop and mobile, but does say that its users have made more than 3 billion minutes of calls in one day on Skype.
The new Love Mojis become available on Skype today, and are free, because obviously you can’t buy me love. (Sorry.)