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This article was published on April 14, 2016

Sony’s emoji movie sounds like the most cynical brand-led piece of crap ever conceived

Sony’s emoji movie sounds like the most cynical brand-led piece of crap ever conceived
Ben Woods
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Ben Woods

Europe Editor

Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.

Hold the phone! 2016 isn’t half done yet and we’re already plumbing the depths of questionable movie ideas to run with, as Sony’s yet-to-be-released Emoji Movie confirms.

While its existence has been known since July last year, details about the storyline have only just started to come out – and boy, it’s a pure branding vehicle, plain and simple.

Of course, that’s not to say that the movie will be dull or definably bad. I’m sure a whole lot of people will go and see it; maybe it’ll be the best movie since….well, the last hit movie.

But even if that is the case, it’s the most cynical, money-printing approach to a movie that you could have, from what’s been revealed so far.

According to Screen Rant, the entire thing is set within the world of a smartphone, which conveniently opens the process up to commercial partnerships from other companies that want to be featured heavily in the movie. You can see where this is going.

Sony Pictures Animation President Kristine Belson likened the digital surroundings to those of movies like Tron, “Inside your phone, there’s a secret world–and we enter through the text app where we discover Emoji Valley, where the industrious Emoji live and work.”

The company also confirmed the return of some previous partners, without naming them.

“We have a number of power brands returning, relaunching or being reintroduced — and yet at Sony we also believe that it is vital to maintain a commitment to originality.”

According to The Wrap, Spotify has already signed up to take a spot.

The plot will revolve around the emoji realizing there’s a wider world outside of their emoji-shackles, and head out of Emoji Valley to explore the other apps – all staying within the confines of being set in a smartphone.

It’s pretty easy, in that case, to see how blatant these branding partnerships are likely to be – and again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just usually is.

With companies always looking to reach wider (and younger) audiences, high-profile brand partnerships aren’t a new thing, but there aren’t too many movies in which it looks like Spotify might be taking a leading role. And in my mind, that’s just a step too far.

You’re still welcome to go and see it when it hits movie theaters on August 11 in the US though.