Over the years animation in TV advertising has produced some pretty memorable characters, many of which have become symbolic of the brand they are advertising. From the adorable Ribena Berries and Geoffrey the Toys R Us Giraffe to a self-cannibalising Peperami and everyone’s favourite meerkat, Aleksandr Olov, from ComparetheMarket.com, animation has long been a go-to medium for brand marketers.
Modern advances in CGI and green screen technology have allowed brands to fuse animation with real life, often with riveting results (think of the iconic Guinness surfers and wild horses ad or the more recent world-warping ‘Inception’ style Nissan car commercials).
In the internet age, animation has taken on a whole new set of applications for digital marketers, partly fuelled by the availability and accessibility of new technology and also partly fuelled by the rise of social media. But animation’s long lasting and universal attraction has always been in its power to stretch boundaries by putting the viewer into a completely different world.
Animation has the power to do away with the physical, of the real world and open up whole new worlds to an audience. Often, the application of animation in digital marketing is far more subtle or utilitarian than the desire to completely do away with the real, but the appeal to our willing suspension of disbelief remains a pervading attraction of the medium. The surge in computing power and associated tech has seen animation become a viable option for a growing number of SMEs, as well as the big brands. For a long time animation was deemed the remit of TV advertising, but the internet has now changed all that by effectively democratising the playing field for marketers.
With new approaches such as CGI and 3D and the huge growth of social media as a delivery channel, the marketing and communication applications of animation have become numerous. Let’s take a look at some of them now.
Using Animation to Explain Complex Concepts
An animation is a perfect medium for helping an audience visualise complex concepts and technology. Software demos are a perfect example of how animation can be used to showcase functionality by using things like screen capture alongside a presenter against a green screen, which is later animated. The applications in this area are endless though, with the medical, tech and engineering being prime candidates to take advantage of animation’s unique ability to visualise abstract concepts such as global networks or portray microscopic entities like blood cells or bacteria.
Creating Brand Identity with Animation
A video is an ultimate way to portray your brand identity, whether that be through colours, setting and props through to the people and objects you put in front of the camera. Animation has the ability to give you control over the way brand identity underpins the look and feel of your video in a way that real footage simply cannot, by literally giving you a blank canvas.
Viral Video and Social Media
The scope to be unique, quirky or idiosyncratic with animation opens up the door to the potential of creating viral videos on social media. There really is no magic bullet when it comes to creating the next viral sensation but creating a video that is both unique and entertaining is definitely a prerequisite (and animation can often be the perfect medium to achieve this).
Broaching Sensitive Subjects with Animation
Animation’s ability to metaphorically or symbolically represent ideas or concepts can allow you to approach sensitive or emotionally challenging subjects in a less obvious and more disarming manner. By creating an alternative reality that mirrors the harsh reality being discussed, video producers can create something memorable that isn’t distressing to watch. A recent example of this can be seen in Stand Up to Cancer’s recent TV advertising campaign on Channel 4, which skillfully disorientates the viewer, to begin with, helping to hook them in before they even know what the commercial is about.
A Variety of Animated Approaches
We’ve been talking about animation up to this point as if it were a single medium, but really it is a broad term for a group of techniques and styles, all of which have their own unique appeal and charm. From combining high tech CGI and green screen to create believable alternate worlds inhabited by real people to the delightful idiosyncrasies of stop motion technique such as claymation (think back to those brilliant Creature Comforts commercials). Another huge area of growth, especially in the B2B space, has been the use of Stereoscopic 3D animation, which can be used to create immersive architectural fly-throughs, popular with construction, engineering and technology companies.
Taking it to the Next Stage
From conception through to production and activation, there are a huge number of considerations to bear in mind when it comes to using animation. It should also be pointed out that despite its huge potential it isn’t always the right choice when it comes to your video marketing campaign. Before even deciding to use animation you should think long and hard about your target audience, the message you want to portray and how you want to portray it.
Speaking to the experts at a video marketing company is always a good place to start. As well as talking you through what approach to take they can also give you a realistic appraisal of your budget, video scripting requirement and the costs and logistics of hiring equipment or professional presenters.