Animation isn’t a new addition to the marketing landscape. In fact, brands have been using animation in their advertising campaigns for decades precisely because it is an excellent medium for creating memorable characters and crafting unique and imaginative narratives that help to embed brand presence and sell plenty of products.

Advancements in technology and software in recent years has increased the availability of animation amongst businesses and brands of all sizes. But, due to technological advancements and the advent of the internet age, for the first time animation is no longer the preserve of large corporations. But yet, this powerful medium remains the digital landscape’s most underused marketing tool.

What makes Animation so Special?

For many, the word ‘animation’ sums up the cartoons of one’s childhood. Whilst you’re certainly not alone in this bias, it’s important to leave this ‘Tom and Jerry mindset’ at the door. Although understandable, this thought process is exactly what makes so many business owners so reluctant to even consider animation in the first place.

Taking a look at the hard hitting yet simultaneously funny ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ campaign from Australian Metro Trains. This award-winning campaign was so effective precisely because it delivered a distinctly unsubtle and important message through a medium that few would expect. The juxtaposition of the severity of the issue with a medium renowned for delivering comedic narratives is attention-grabbing and memorable.

Conventional filmmaking can certainly also deliver memorable and emotionally evocative campaigns; however a live-action version of this campaign would have been very different and, arguably, not as effective.

Limited only by your Imagination

Animation is creatively empowering in innumerable ways. The very nature of traditional filmmaking comes with inherent limitations including casting, locations, and budgets. In contrast motion graphics make the seemingly impossible possible and can instantly broaden the scope and scale of your campaign.

Animation allows you to immediately create a very distinctive style and look to your marketing. Look at this example from M&S in conjunction with Oxfam. The simple unflashy style underwrites and often belies the powerful messaging underneath. Through animation the direct connections are drawn between donating clothes and raising money for charities. In conventional filmmaking, making such direct connections may have felt trite or even forced. Animation lends a certain fluidity to the whole affair.

Characters

Animated characters never age, or at least they don’t have to if you don’t want them to. This might sound like a rather obvious point to make, but it is this stability and control allows you to create an enduring character that is both memorable and unique. Plus, they don’t even have to be human!

While it might be true that an animated character cannot fully compete with the emotional impact of a gifted actor, it is well within the ability of talented creative teams to develop an animated character with an inherent ability to establish and reflect a distinctive brand image and convey an important narrative or message.

If you’re still not convinced, just look at the success of Compare the Market’s meerkats, one of the most successful and enduring UK TV advertising campaigns in recent years.

Animation and Emotion

Emotionally-led marketing campaigns are both effective and powerful. Although audiences are increasingly sceptical of traditional marketing and advertising approaches, the appeal of storytelling continues to endure. This is significant because emotion is one of the primary components in building a successful brand identity and establishing a loyal audience.

Animation and emotion are essentially two peas in a pod because the medium is tailor-made for creating emotional hooks through symbolism, metaphor, transitions and effects. Different animation techniques and colour palettes can almost effortlessly establish and alter the mood and tone of a video, which helps to create a distinctive and recognisable aesthetic and heighten the emotional power of your marketing.

Although you might ultimately decide that animation is not the right avenue for your marketing messages right now, it’s important to consider the huge advantages animation and motion graphics can have over conventional filmmaking.

About the author: Paul Silcox is the creative mind behind Ocula Motion Graphics. You can connect with Paul and Ocula on Twitter or Instagram or check out their spectacular work on their YouTube and Vimeo channels.