Maybe it’s because so many of my friends from college were mechanical engineers, or maybe it’s because it went from being considered a plant to a dwarf-planet, but I was very excited last month when the first photos of Pluto were released.

Although beverage-makers aren’t going to the edge of the galaxy, they are exploring new ways to connect with an overly connected consumer. This month’s Special Report on marketing trends (page 22) details some of the ways brands are utilizing this medium. However, the creativity isn’t just limited to those mentioned in the article.

This summer, Tampico Beverages launched Emojiball, a social media game where consumers 17 or older can comment on specific Tampico Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts with a combination of five emojis from a selected pool of 24 in an attempt to guess the winning emoji combination. Contestants who enter the five correct emojis in the correct order will win prizes, while runners-up selected from contestants with partially correct combinations also can take home rewards.

Through Emojiball, Tampico said it wants “to celebrate the fun-loving nature of its brand by combining the cross-cultural mobile language of emojis with the excitement of a mastermind-esque guessing-game.”

“When people think of Tampico, they associate our drinks with fun, blended fruit flavors and colorful living,” said Marta R. Gerdes, vice president of marketing for Tampico, in a statement. “Through the launch of this social media game, we want to celebrate the joyful expression of life that is synonymous with our brand — and do that through the global language of emojis.”

Brand owners also are conducting their own research and tying their social media campaigns into this research. For instance, Sauza Tequila, a brand of
Beam Suntory Inc., polled more than 950 Americans 21 and older and found that 51 percent of cocktail consumers in America who also are active on social media are eager to snap photos of their drinks and share them with their family, friends and followers.

To coincide with this trend, Sauza kicked off its Pitcher Perfect Picture campaign. “The rise in social media and photo sharing apps has led to a fundamental shift in the way our fans are engaging and sharing memories with family and friends,” said Claire Richards, senior director of tequilas at Beam Suntory, in a statement. “We’re joining in on the fun and connecting with our fans by offering tips on taking the best cocktail photos for social media. Sauza delivers the perfect cocktails that not only tastes delicious but also makes the perfect cameo in social media shots.”

As part of the campaign, Sauza is encouraging consumers to share their cocktail pitcher photos on social media, using the hashtag #SauzaPitcherPics. Sauza also partnered with lifestyle photographer Michelle Yam to offer consumers tips on evaluating angles, shadows, filters and more.

 With more and more brands embracing social media as part of their marketing programs, I’m looking forward to seeing more creative campaigns emerge.