Barely a few hours after its appearance on Monday January 13 on Twitter, the Breton flag emoji has become the most discussed topic in France on the social network. By the end of the afternoon, more than 23,000 tweets had integrated the hashtag #emojiBZH or #GwennHaDu : they automatically display the small black and white flag, called “Gwenn ha Du”.
Without these keywords, it is impossible to display the Breton emoticon … No matter how much you search for it on the keypad of your phone, it does not appear anywhere. And for good reason: the Breton flag emoji does not exist.
This is what upsets the Brittany region and the .bzh association (which manages the eponymous extension). Since 2018, they have been campaigning together for the creation of a “real” Gwenn ha Du emoji. That is to say recognized by the Unicode consortium, the body responsible, among other things, for defining emojis which will be integrated and readable in electronic devices around the world.
Prove the usefulness of the emoji
A petition thus collected more than 26,000 signatures for this project, and a crowdfunding campaign, 22,565 euros. “We ask Google, Apple, Facebook, Samsung, Microsoft, IBM and Twitter to support the application of the Breton flag emoji to the Unicode consortium”, could we read in the text of the petition. These large companies are, in fact, part of the Unicode consortium.
Google, which has just set up its digital workshop in #Rennes would be coherent by supporting # emojibzh
A first dossier was already proposed to the consortium in 2018. “But the file is on hold, like many others concerning flags”, explains to World Loïz Fily, emoji project manager within .bzh. “The consortium wanted us to prove the usefulness of the emoji, to prove that there is a demand, and they asked us to test it on a platform. “
Getting a new emoji introduced is very difficult – at least World, we could see it by proposing, without success, a raclette emoji. Last year, 230 new icons were approved by the consortium, after a very strict selection process: an emoji must meet very specific criteria and its supporters must prove that, if it was integrated, it would be used a lot.
“The more mentions, the better”
This is why the association .bzh and the Brittany region launched this operation on Monday, January 13. Concretely, they asked Twitter, for remuneration, that a Gwenn ha Du emoji is displayed each time a hashtag #emojiBZH or #GwennHaDu is used. This is seen regularly during various communication operations: Star Wars emojis appeared at the exit of the last films, Beatles when the group appeared on Spotify … Sometimes even, Twitter takes the initiative alone: as when designed this emoji “raised hands” to associate it with the keyword #metoo.
How much did it cost to set up a Breton flag emoji on Twitter? Loïz Fily prefers not to answer. He does not say either if the Brittany region participated in the financing. And Twitter does not publicly disclose the cost of such transactions, which certainly vary from one to the other. This first day of the campaign will in any case have borne fruit, all supported by personalities (journalist Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, footballers Gautier Larsonneur and Romain Danzé…) and brands (Armor Lux, Le Slip français, the Telegram…).
THE #BRETAGNE NEEDS YOU 💪! The Breton flag emoji is activated until February 9, 2020. Use the hashtag… https://t.co/CEYjj5MWHD
” It's encouraging “, rejoices Loïz Fily, “We want to prove that there is demand, the more mentions, the better”. ” All those who have a daily lack of this emoticon that has not yet been implemented, you have to use morning, noon and evening #EmojiBzh to raise the meters ”, declared the president of the Brittany region, Loïg Chesnais-Girard, at France Bleu.
The emoji Gwenn ha Du will disappear from Twitter on February 9, when the operation will end. At the end of March, a new dossier, reinforced by this experience, will be sent to the Unicode consortium. The answer is expected in January 2021.