Smiley Faces for Social Networking
First use of happy face in a campaign for the film Lili in 1953
The happy face was first introduced to popular culture in 1958 when the WMCA radio station in New York ran a competition for the most popular radio show at the time, 'Cousin Brucie'. Listeners who answered their phone 'WMCA Good Guys!' were rewarded with a 'Good Guys!' sweatshirt that incorporated a happy face into its design. Thousands of these sweatshirts were given away during the late 1950s.
In 1963 Harvey Ball, an American commercial artist, was employed by an advertising company to create a happy face to be used on buttons. His rendition, with bright yellow background, dark oval eyes, and creases at the sides of the mouth, was to become the most iconic version.[4[5
In 1967, Ball's design was used in an advertising campaign for Seattle-based University Federal Savings & Loan. This was later used when the man behind this campaign, David Stern, ran for Seattle Mayor in 1993.[5
In 1972, Franklin Loufrani introduced the happy face to a European audience, giving it the name "Smiley". On January 1 the 'take the time to smiley' promotion was launched in the French newspaper 'France Soir'. The Smiley logo was used to highlight all good news so people could choose to read positive and uplifting articles.[6
The graphic was popularized in the early 1970s by Philadelphia brothers Bernard and Murray Spain, who seized upon it in September 1970 in a campaign to sell novelty items. The two produced buttons as well as coffee mugs, t-shirts, bumper stickers and many other items emblazoned with the symbol and the phrase "Have a happy day" (devised by Gyula Bogar) which mutated into "have a nice day". Working with New York button manufacturer NG Slater, some 50 million happy face badges were produced by 1972.[7
In the 1970s, the happy face (and the accompanying 'have a nice day' mantra) is also said to have become a zombifying hollow sentiment, emblematic of Nixon-era America and the passing from the optimism of the Summer of Love into the more cynical decade that followed. This motif is evidenced in the era of "paranoid soul" such as "Smiling Faces Sometimes" (released by The Temptations in April 1971, and by The Undisputed Truth in July 1971), "I'll Take You There" (The Staples Singers, 1972), "Don't Call Me Brother" (The O'Jays, 1973), "Back Stabbers" (The O'Jays), and "You Caught Me Smilin'" (Sly and the Family Stone, 1971).[7 The origins of this was parodied in a famous scene from the movie Forrest Gump when Forrest is on his multiple jogs across America, and wipes his face on a T shirt given him by a struggling salesman, and on the shirt, as if transferred there by Forrest's face, is the image of the happy face, whereupon the man gets his idea. The happy face was also seen on a van in a scene from Mork and Mindy, the van driven by men who kidnap them.
In the UK, the happy face has been associated with psychedelic culture since Ubi Dwyer and the Windsor Free Festival in the 1970s and the dance music culture that emerged during the second summer of love in the late 1980s. The association was cemented when the band Bomb The Bass used an extracted smiley from Watchmen on the centre of its Beat Dis hit single.
[editUsage in Informatics
The smiley is the printable version of characters 1 and 2 of (black-and-white versions of) codepage 437 (1981) of the first IBM PC and all subsequent PC compatible computers. For modern computers, all versions of Microsoft Windows after Windows 95[8 can use the smiley as part of Windows Glyph List 4, although some computer fonts miss some characters, and some characters cannot be reproduced by programs not compatible with Unicode.[9 It also appears in Unicode's Basic Multilingual Plane.[10
Unicode smiley characters :
☺ 0x263a White Smiling Face
☻ 0x263b Black Smiling Face
Unicode also contains the "sad" face:
☹ 0x2639 White Frowning Face
[editLicensing and legal issues
A satirical use of the smiley at the 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity.
French journalist Franklin Loufrani registered the iconic smiley face image as a trademark in France in 1971, and he created "The Smiley Licensing Corporation, Ltd." to sell, license, and advertise the smiley face image in the United Kingdom and Europe. In 2001 the name of Loufrani's company was changed to SmileyWorld, which has managed to register the symbol in over 100 countries (not including the USA) for 25 classes of goods and services.[11
In 1999, Harvey Ball belatedly formed his own "World Smile Corporation" and began licensing his particular rendering of the happy face to fund charitable causes.[12 Profits are distributed to charities through the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation, which also sponsors the annual World Smile Day Ball started in 1999 to encourage "acts of kindness."[13
In 1997, Franklin Loufrani and Smiley World attempted to acquire trademark rights to the symbol (and even to the word "smiley" itself) in the United States. This brought Loufrani into conflict with Wal-Mart, which had begun prominently featuring a happy face in its "Rolling Back Prices" campaign over a year earlier. Wal-Mart responded first by trying to block Loufrani's application, then later by trying to register the smiley face themselves; Loufrani in turn sued to stop Wal-Mart's application, and in 2002 the issue went to court,[14 where it would languish for seven years before a decision.
In any case, Wal-mart began phasing out the smiley face on its vests[15 and its website[16 in 2006 anyway. Despite that, Wal-Mart sued an online parodist for alleged "trademark infringement" after he used the symbol (as well as various portmanteaus of "Wal-," such as "Walocaust" and they lost that case in March 2008, when the judge declared that the smiley face is not a "distinctive" mark, and therefore cannot be trademarked by anyone—and thus, Wal-Mart has no claim to it.[17
The Loufrani vs. Wal-Mart case was finally closed in March 2009, when the judge dismissed Loufrani's claims to any rights on either the generic smiley face symbol or the word "smiley," noting that both had become "ubiquitous" in American culture long before Loufrani's initial trademark application.[18
These two court decisions effectively ruled the smiley face (as well as the words "smiley face") to be in the public domain, at least within the jurisdiction of the United States. U.S. court decisions have no effect in other countries though, and Loufrani's SmileyWorld continues to claim (and enforce) trademark rights in much of the rest of the world.