an white animated rabbit hopping captured in 6 freeze frames to signifying the use of animation in advertising

Using animation as the treatment for any marketing or sales collateral provides a versatility that rivals other mediums like live-action.

When animation is applied to any number of video forms – from online ads, elearning modules, commercials, explainer videos, corporate internal videos, and more – it provides incredible storytelling flexibility. But animation is also known to play a pivotal role in conveying and provoking emotion. And if you have any doubt – just three minutes spent watching the award-winning and heartwarming short, The Present just might prove it to you.

If you’re considering animation for your next video project, here are three reasons why animation is a powerful choice as your storytelling medium.

Producing Animation on a Budget

There are many articles online that compare the cost of live-action video to animation – and an ensuing hot debate over which is cheaper. The reality is that either format can be incredibly expensive or reasonably affordable – and which way the budget goes will depend on you (more on that below). Animation is a great choice for those who need to illustrate complex or abstract concepts (think metaphors), as well as those who want to leverage scenes, stories, and characters that are difficult to depict in real life.

And bonus – through animation, not only can you design the story of your dreams, you can also add a variety of voice over to your characters to really bring them to life.

Animation can absolutely be used on a budget, but according to industry expert and CEO of Kasra Design, Alex Safavinia, the key to keeping costs affordable is by investing time into the creative process before you start. Because the end audience bases their opinion of a company, product, campaign, etc. off of what that company publishes, Alex suggests affording the time to fully flesh out a creative plan before rushing to the development of an animation project.

The effectiveness of an animation greatly depends on the script, concept, and story…It’s the foundation of the animation, so extra attention must be paid… There are no shortcuts in producing a creative work. 

Note that the effectiveness of an animation isn’t necessarily tied to the type of animation. An effective message can be communicated through all types of animation ranging from simple 2D animations (the easiest kind of animation to create on a tight budget), to cel animations, to complex 3D animations (the more expensive kinds of animation not usually recommended for tight-budget situations). Alex stresses that “if the video concept is developed creatively, and the message is right, that video will be successful. It can even go viral.”

Why Animation Works Well for International Marketing Campaigns

Companies looking to make a splash in a larger market – like, say, the world at large – can turn to animation for its ability to be repurposed for use in different countries. Here’s how a couple notable brands leveraged animation for international distribution:

Oreo’s Play with Oreo Campaign

Lead by the Martin Agency, this campaign was launched in 40 countries in 2015. The same 20-second claymation video was fitted with the native languages of those 40 countries, making the investment in animation both practical and budget-friendly.

 

The production of ambiguous looking characters, paired with localized voice over to reflect the language of each country, makes Oreo’s use of animation a prefect example of how far one animated video can stretch. We’ve got more on this example, and other global animation video examples in our Using Animation Globally blog post.

Voices.com’s Adweek Campaign

In early 2018, Voices.com seized the opportunity to create an engaging video that would be promoted through Adweek, and positioned to help raise brand awareness among creative professionals in marketing and advertising. We caught up with our Digital Content Producer, Marc Raffa, to talk about managing the production of the animation while under both time and budget constraints.

Not only was the video intended to be the centerpiece of the Adweek campaign, it would also feed the artistic direction of many other pieces of marketing collateral. So, Marc had the content team focus on the core message for the campaign and the value statements that needed to be  incorporated first, before moving onto ideation and scriptwriting.

Marc mentioned that the planning of the video was essential to its success, due to the nature of the Voices.com product.

Voices.com is an audio product and doesn’t immediately lend itself to visuals. We definitely ran into that when brainstorming concepts. We decided on a visual metaphor that centered around this ‘black box’ Voices.com solution, to help the viewer see that there all kinds of considerations that go into posting a voice over job… We were able to create a video fit for global distribution by incorporating 6 voice actors of varying accents including German, Australian, British, Spanish, and General American.

Speaking to the flexibility of animation, especially those with voice over, the video is able to be easily modified to appeal to unique target demographics. For instance, the main voice over could be swapped out so that the language would match that of the target demographic.

The end product, which you can view below, was able to generate global awareness in the hundreds of millions, increased website visits by nearly 5%, and contributed to an increase of 32% in website conversions during the time of the campaign. 

 

There’s more on the development and creation of the Adweek video campaign here.

Flexibility and Ability to Depict Abstract Concepts – The Sky’s The Limit

Whether it’s a concept that’s difficult to depict or a mundane theory that you need to breathe excitement into, animation can be used to create a snappy and engaging video that keeps viewers’ attention long enough to deliver all the information you want them to know and retain. Live-action videos can be limiting in this regard because they’re confined by what’s possible in real life. Animation simply isn’t bound by the same constraints!

How the Insurance Information Institute Uses Animation

The Insurance Information Institute created a short animation video to explain the basic components of homeowner’s insurance and describe how to choose insurance that best fits a homeowner’s needs and budget.  

 

They’ve provided visual cues at critical points during their information delivery to ensure that the viewer would remember the key points being made in the explainer video. How clever!

It’s important to remember that the goal isn’t always to ‘sell, sell, sell,’ a brand, product, or so on through animation. Rather, let there be a deeper message, and then let the excellence of the video speak for itself. No matter the budget used to create the video, it’s still an investment. And as Alex mentioned, investing time into the creation process is just as important as the monetary investment.

Alex offers up the animation below as a fantastic example of a cel animation video that went viral all thanks to expert planning and execution. Note that the video isn’t selling anything directly, but that the video has 2 million views and results in awareness for the creator that translates into business. Talk about creating an emotional connection!

The Benefits of Animation are Endless

If we’re being honest, the uses for animation are nearly endless. We’ve covered 3 use cases for animation, from a pool of hundreds of reasons. Exploring animation as an option for your next project could very well be what makes it successful, especially in an era where humans’ attention spans are shorter than goldfish.

As one last tip – if you’re the kind of person who gets inspired by looking at creative options – you can also listen through this range of cartoon voices, television voices and more. Who knows, you might hear a demo that inspires your next animation project!

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