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Does Animation Fit Your Client’s Company?

It’s not uncommon for many people to think animation may not be suitable for their client’s project. When they hear the word animation, their minds go instantly back to the Saturday morning cartoons and characters that were part of their childhood. Which makes talking about animation in a business context seem strange. If this is a common concern you and your clients have, I’m here to explain how you might actually be losing out on a great opportunity.

Here are some reasons why animation can be used in a variety of industries – from playful to serious – with examples from our portfolio.

Animation simplifies complex topics

Everyone is familiar with explainer videos at this point. Startup tech companies popularized this format years ago because they saw it as the best way to introduce new ideas, differentiate their brands from other startups, and bring attention and clarity to their product or service. It was a way to make abstract ideas and complex processes into something simpler and more concrete for customers.

There are three reasons this format works so well.

  1. Internet users are more willing to watch a video than read an article.
  2. The combination of images and sound contributes to better explaining the topic.
  3. Animation is enjoyable for the viewer and keeps people engaged.

For years, MOWE has been helping companies to make extremely complex topics more accessible to a wider audience. Our company actually started out creating explainer videos for tech companies, and branched out into working with a variety of industries including real estate, sportswear, live music events, and the stock market.

For example, in our work with iluli, we created animations that have been educating millions of people around the world about cybersecurity and technology. The outcome of iluli choosing the animation approach has resulted in more than 25 videos produced, 90,000 subscribers to their channel, and more than 24 million views so far.

As another example, Google reached out to us to develop an animation to help sell and explain the benefits of their API system to large retail stores. In addition to it being a nice piece of marketing at that time, its timelessness makes it still relevant and accurate even today, years after it was released.

Going even further from the startup and tech world, our animations have served fortune 500 and health companies like Pfizer and NewRootsHerbal in recent years. In the case of NewRoots Herbal, our animation helped to illustrate the power of their capsules when in contact with stomach acid — a complex and difficult-to-illustrate topic that was made easier to understand with animation.

Motion design is animation, too

Another common misconception is that every animation needs characters. And this misunderstanding can be one of the barriers most CCOs encounter when proposing this medium to their most valuable clients. If a brand feels that characters won’t work with their audience, they may discard animation right away.

But the fact is, animation isn’t limited to cartoony characters or even fully animated pieces. In the past 20 years, motion design has become ubiquitous. This approach brings graphic design elements — shapes, typography, composition, and color — to life with movement. You’ve seen motion design everywhere, from movie titles and TV programs, to Times Square LEDs and smartwatches. It’s something that consumers expect at this point, so it’s a smart element to bring into your brand’s videos.

For example, in the web series The Slack Life, we used motion graphics to add titles in their trailers and openings, which helped viewers identify locations and people. The use of typography and lines in motion, together with some elegant blurs, added a modern layer of immersiveness and connection for the viewers.

In another example, we played with typography and graphic elements to introduce the speakers at the Anymotion Festival. The combination of movement with design and sound helped to set the mood for the festival and build excitement and expectation for the speakers to come.

Serious companies can also be fun

Even though our previous examples show how serious animation can be, we can’t deny how animation can also expand the possibilities for companies to play with humor. And humor is great for marketing. Animation allows companies to better explore the fun-factor by creating unexpected situations and building curious scenarios that are still natural, in a way that encourages the viewer to watch the story until the end. What somehow would feel a little cringey or cheesy in live-action can be well-received in animation. And it applies to many industries.

A couple of years ago we worked with GEICO, a big auto insurance company, to contribute to their series of educational videos. Their approach was to use animation to bring a more relaxed mood to the topic while using bits of fun and humor to talk about… well… damage coverages. This direction helped them to better engage with their customer by presenting an important and serious topic in a package that was more approachable.

We used a similar approach for Sharethrough, a native advertising company. We applied a different point of view around birds to represent ads, having our hero bird as this majestic creature that stands out from the crowd of “pigeon ads”. An unusual way to present the subject, but that was used precisely to differentiate Sharethrough from their competitors.

You set the tone

At the end of the day, what sets the tone of your campaign is your message and not just the medium. There are multiple ways to communicate with an audience on different levels and animation can help with that.

When you start looking at animation beyond simply cartoons, new opportunities arise. Live-action videos can be childish, serious, dramatic… animation acts the same way. It’s such a malleable media and, at the same time, a powerful communication tool.

Your creative direction and a good animation strategy can be a powerful tool for your clients to connect with multiple audiences and make an impact in every industry.

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Author avatar
Felippe Silveira
Co-founder & Creative Director at MOWE Studio

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