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World gets taste for paella thanks to brilliant Spanish emoji campaign

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World gets taste for paella thanks to brilliant Spanish emoji campaign
Photo: WhatsApp
13:16 CET+01:00
The campaign, the brainchild of a Spanish rice brand, was one of the most successful advertising campaigns in Spain this year.

The Spanish Advertising Association has announced the most successful adverts of the year and one, more than any other, captured not only the spirit of Spain but the new method of advertising sweeping the country.

The campaign for a paella emoji was launched by La Fallera rice, a popular brand of Spanish rice typically used in paella, the Valencian dish lauded as one of Spain’s most typical.

Paella-loving Spaniards want their own smiley

La Fallera looked towards new technologies to promote its product, creating a campaign that ended up going viral.

It took advantage of the fact that Spaniards are among the biggest users of WhatsApp on the planet by launching its campaign via the popular chat app.

Spanish comedian Eugeni Alemany, a Valencia native, jumped on the cause, teaming up with La Fallera and travelling to Silicon Valley to petition tech companies to create the paella emoji, making a short film about his journey. 

"Why not?!" Alemany told The Local when asked why the world needed a paella emoji at the time of the campaign. 

"You have the chicken leg and the shrimp tail; who the fuck sends the shrimp tail!?" he added. 

He ended up meeting Mark Davies, CEO of Unicode, a non-profit organization made up of the best and brightest of Silicon Valley's technology companies and, most importantly, the company responsible for making new emojis. 

"He told us paella had a good chance, but that people had to prove they would really use the emoji," Alemany told The Local, "so we decided to push for people to support the campaign." 

The hashtag #PaellaEmoji went viral in Spain and soon was trending around the world, with everyone from famous Spanish actors and television presenters to chefs joining the campaign. 

The results were staggering. La Fallera reached an audience of 60 million, generated more than 30,000 tweets in 40 days and the story appeared in more than 150 national and international newspapers.

The emoji has been shortlisted by Unicode, which makes emojis for apps such as WhatsApp, for its next round of emoticons.

They will announce whether the paella emoji has made the cut in February 2016.

The Spanish Advertising Association announced the best adverts of 2015 in a ceremony in Madrid’s Royal Theatre on October 29th.

Some of the other most successful adverts in Spain included ones for Ikea and the country’s Christmas lottery, beloved by Spaniards and one of the oldest in the world. 

Spaniards have been embracing Whatsapp, with Spanish MPs turning to the chat service to win votes, encouraging Spaniards to contact them via text message.

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