If you’re a Skype user, chances are somebody will send you an emoticon of a flirting banana in the next couple of days (accompanied by a short snippet of music).
This banana, together with nine other new Skype ‘mojis‘ like an amorous octopus and a couple of similarly enamoured animals, is the result of a project the Microsoft-owned Skype is launching with Sir Paul McCartney today.
Today’s new mojis — which are basically GIFs with sound — all focus on love and are timed for Valentine’s Day. McCartney created the sound and Microsoft’s teams handled the animations for this project.
“Paul genuinely loves Skype and, inspired by our existing Mojis, was excited to lend his voice to the Mojis family,” the Skype team writes today. “Likewise we were over the moon to work with Paul, and it was a great creative challenge for us to create the animations to compliment his legendary sound. Take a look at the final product!”
During a small press event earlier this week, Skype group program manager Steven Abrahams noted that Skype users have now sent over half a billion mojis. Until now, though, Skype mostly partnered with content producers like the BBC to offer these advanced emoticons. The team noted that the company would like to partner with more artists over time and left the possibility of additional partnerships with McCartney open as well.
“We think artists — and in particular musicians — have a deep understanding of emotions,” Abrahams said. “And if you think about music as something very visceral, it’s really a great way of expression.”
It’s worth noting that while Skype clearly aims to capitalize on the ex-Beatles’ popularity, his likeness doesn’t appear in these mojis. You will see his name in the animations’ descriptions, but that’s about it. As Abrahams told us, McCartney obviously has a huge fan base, “but there are also lots of people who aren’t the biggest fans.”