By on July 16, 2019

Ford was teasing a new pickup truck on Tuesday. No, it’s not the Bronco-based one we mentioned earlier in the day. This one is small, really small.

According to Ford’s product communications manager, Mike Levine, more details on this in-development vehicle will emerge later this week. But we already know what it is — an emoji. 

While the finer details of Ford’s promotional video abandon any semblance of surprise, I also happened to recall that a pickup emoji had been made a candidate for inclusion in Unicode 13.0. The existing draft version of the icon is scheduled for release in 2020. Think of that as the graphic’s production date.

Branded emojis have been appearing on various platforms over the last few years, often as part of million-dollar deals. Marketers have also started taking an interest in measuring their usage, as the data could be a useful advertising tool.


Ford cannot brand the word truck anymore than Coca-Cola can brand the word soda. However, with more people using modern-day hieroglyphics than ever before, it might pay to ensure that the soda bottle emoji looks like a Coke and the one for pickups resembles an F-150 or Ranger.

While Unicode 13.0 is slated to arrive until next year. Apple’s iOS 13 software is currently in public beta and might have a special sticker emoji set aside for Ford on the horizon. Obviously, we’ll get the full details once Ford makes a legitimate announcement. But we can’t see it being anything other than this.

We’re not going to bash this like we’ve done to so many of Ford’s more-goofy mobility projects. It’s a shrewd marketing idea. But there is something kind of unsettling about companies taking ownership of the objects we’ve started using in place of real words. We’ll wait to see how it’s implemented before throwing any fits though.

This may turn out to be a platform-specific sticker and not a ubiquitous Unicode Standard character. However, since Ford used the crossed fingers and the term “hopefully” in the promo materials, that suggests it’s not up to them — possibly meaning its up for review with the Unicode Consortium.

Update 7/17/2019: Looks like we predicted correctly. This morning, Ford made an announcement that its design had been shortlisted as a candidate for the new pickup emoji by the Unicode Consortium. The release was loaded with puns and framed the icon as undergoing real vehicle development.

“Our team spent a lot of time digging through message boards, texting influencers and watching social media feeds to really understand our customers’ needs,” said Craig Metros, Ford North America design director. “People want a truck emoji that’s fresh, stylish, carries their ideas, and ‘tows’ the line on what a truck means. The end result is a modern icon that should give all truck fans a smiley face emoji.”




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23 Comments on “Ford Teasing Probable Pickup Emoji [Updated: It’s Real]...”

  • avatar

    how about a transmission emoji?

  • avatar

    Need compact BoF RWD Ranger like vehicle, do not need front drive unibody murder scene.

    Seems like there’s two teams at Ford, one is trying to build good interesting American vehicles, the other is spinning squeaky office chairs in a train station thinking up ways that mobility will save us all from micro aggressions and fascists.

  • avatar

    Somehow this reminds me of when one corner of the internet was arguing about what the damn cheeseburger emoji should look like.

  • avatar

    Dear Ford,

    I have a flip phone. Make me a manual transmission V8 F150 instead an emoji.


    Loyal GM Owner who will consider switching brands if above qualifications are met.

  • avatar

    I can draw better than that.

  • avatar

    The target release date of the new Ford emoji is sometime late 2021

    Business as usual at Ford

  • avatar

    Their new emoji will be recalled within 90 days, just like every other one of their products.

  • avatar

    Easter egg for the new Bronco, similar…er…copy of the Jeep Easter eggs in the new Wrangler and Gladiator. Monkey see, monkey do.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    How about an emoji with a cracked transmission.

  • avatar

    And this emoji will be the best selling one for over 40 years running.

    Now stuff that.

  • avatar

    Perhaps 1/4″ long with a 1/8″ bed will finally be short enough for the Small Truck Mafia to park in their garages without complaining.

  • avatar

    Coca Cola is not a soda – it is a medication based on the cocaine or coke. And Ford is not a truck – it is the last name of guy who invented mass production automobile.

  • avatar

    If theres one thing that I don’t get about todays cooporate America, its how much time and money gets thrown into projects like this.

    It just seems very inefficient to me. Yes an emoji can be a useful marketing tool (especially if it shows up frequently as people text), but this isnt a design that needs 2 years to make, of course said emoji will require months of meetings, focus groups, its really silly, but buisness as usual today.

    Heck, come 2021 I anticipate a deliberate fake release of a quite bad looking Emoji to gain internet buzz. Then a month later we’ll see the real design.

    • 0 avatar

      This kind of nonsense is dreamed up by Ford’s marketing / PR agency to justify whatever they’re charging Ford each month.

      They are the same folks who release all the lame teasers of a tire tread, or a floor mat fiber to “build buzz.” It generates coverage, which the agency claimed they earned, and the beat goes on.

      • 0 avatar

        Reminds me of the time when Lucent Technology Corp. paid some geniuses to come up with their new corporate logo- a sort of stain like a coffee cup leaves after a small spill, only in red. A child could have and even might have come up with it. And they probably paid a huge sum for it. I wonder if Lucent is still around. Just like I wonder how long Ford and GM will be around with the dunces that are running them, set on abandoning their markets and replacing them with electric motor greenheads…er…enthusiasts and those willing to be driven around by a machine with no driver.

  • avatar

    I’m sorry, I misunderstood. I thought Ford was changing their slogan to:

    “Built Ford Proud – Hopefully”

    …and I suppose the crossed fingers represent the Ford family’s strategic plan to preserve their wealth.

    (By the way, it’s ironic when the pickup truck emoji… doesn’t resemble a modern pickup truck.)

  • avatar

    Another one of Jim Hackett’s better ideas?

  • avatar

    Glad to see Ford focusing on this rather than their abysmal quality.

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