STUDIO CITY, CA — Hallmark Channel has created emojis of Kitten Bowl athletes — or "cat-letes" — to encourage fan engagement and communication during the hours leading up to the game, which premiers next month.
"Kitten Bowl III," which airs on the Hallmark Channel at 12pm ET on Feb. 7, features the nation’s "most athletic, adorable and adoptable kittens in a claws-out, paws-out showdown," according to the program’s website.
Fans can download the Kitten Bowl emoji keyboard app — which includes emojis for Rob Gron-Cat-Ski, Howie Longhair, and Coach John Hairball — via Apple and Google Play. The app is supported by mobile messaging platform Snaps. Users will also be able to share emojis of their favorite star kitten players following the program.
"We thought creating Kitten Bowl emojis would be an organic way for people to celebrate the adorable kittens while spreading awareness about the upcoming 'Kitten Bowl III' airing," said Angela Megrey, vice president of social media at Crown Media Family Networks, which owns Hallmark Channel. "Snaps has a great reputation for understanding the emoji world, and have a prominent network. So we thought they would make an excellent partner."
Why emojis? Megrey said that these icons are here to stay as a form of mobile communication between not only young influencers, but now as a part of mainstream demographics. The kitten emojis are meant to reach viewers who are already fans of the Kitten Bowl and those who have not yet heard of the event.
At the same time, Megrey noted that the emojis provide a great way to organically reach consumers about the need for kitten adoptions, as part of the Hallmark Channel’s Pet Project, a corporate initiative supporting pet adoption and shelter animals.
"Content for mobile use amplifies consumer-to-consumer communication and, as such, has become a key part of every successful contemporary publicity campaign," says Pam Slay, SVP, network program publicity and social content at Crown Media Family Networks. "Shareable content is the difference between an average or an iconic promotional campaign, and messaging apps command the top share of mobile content which makes this app perfect for sharing kitten love."
This article first appeared on prweek.com.