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How Animation Can Improve Any Marketing Campaign

The early stages of a marketing campaign can be overwhelming for many agencies. The client has a specific budget, a problem to solve, and is counting on the creative team to find the best solution. The problem is that the agency has a world of possibilities available to them, which can be overwhelming. So let’s talk about why, how, and when animation is the best choice for your marketing campaign.

The fight for selective attention

With many visual assets competing for viewers’ attention, it’s getting harder and harder for companies to cut through the noise. And even though many companies are trying to fight the system using unskippable ads and other “forced” techniques, the truth is that people’s attention spans aren’t getting shorter, they’re getting better. Banner blindness is actually a long-known web user behavior, a kind of selective attention that describes a user’s tendency to ignore elements that are perceived – correctly or not – as ads.

Is there a solution to this problem? Creating relevant content that doesn’t sound salesy is one of the ways. No matter what you do, the customer needs to come out of it with some additional value. They need to feel represented, entertained, smarter, happier, anything that engages with the audience you’re trying to reach.

Nowadays, it’s all about building brand awareness instead of selling things right out of the gate. As Hamish McCollester, senior vice president and group creative director, says: “Brands often want to be all things to all people, and in our age of fractured attention, vague messaging is easy to scroll past without a second thought. This means that great creative is more important than ever, as it takes skill and ingenuity to articulate a brand’s story and tell it compellingly in the blink of an eye.”

Developing a brand’s personality

Every business has to develop its unique voice and style. And no matter the brand’s creative approach, using graphic design and illustration in a branding system allows for an infinitely malleable canvas on which a business can express its brand. The range of styles those two can create is precisely why we’re still able to have brands with unique personalities. Animation fits in as the catalyst that takes this style and brings it to life, increasing its emotional attachment and communication power with the audience.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to using animation or live-action as marketing assets. Live-action certainly has a clear advantage when it comes to businesses that rely on the product’s material quality rather than its ease or efficiency. But defying expectations can also add a lot of value to the brand and the customer’s experience

For example, one of Barcelona’s best burger shops uses watercolor illustrations on their menu. This may seem odd at first but by doing that they are actually selling you the ingredient selection and the feeling of something hand-made and delicate. The only way to see their burgers is by searching them online, which means that several of the photos you find are from clients reviewing their products, so you’re not seeing a fake “photoshoot burger”, but a real one.

Comparison between the illustrated burger and a photo of a real one.

Brand consistency & long-term customers

Have you ever seen an illustration, video, or ad using the colors yellow, green, red, and blue, and immediately connected it to Google? Well, that’s the power of brand consistency. One of the reasons why they can achieve this is because their ads rely heavily on animation, giving them total control over the look and feel of every element associated with their brand. 

Snippets of an animation we created for Apigee, an API platform that is part of Google Cloud. Read our case study

This control allows brands to feel consistent across different channels and outputs (no matter the resolution or aspect ratio needed), generating long-term customer engagement and long-term customer value. Instead of trying to make people buy your product right out of the gate, you need to incite curiosity and desire through small bits of interaction with the customer. This means that when the opportunity comes, they’ll know which brand is a match for them.

Marketing today is almost like dating so it’s important not only to be on-brand but also to have a personality, which is where animation comes in. It gives each campaign a unique tone and attractiveness so they can connect better with their target audiences.

Infinite creative opportunities

A brand with a strong creative concept can do the impossible with animation, as the medium has very few constraints. Since animations are built from scratch rather than being filmed in the real world, every element can look, feel, and sound any way you want. The only limits are the client’s goals, deadlines, and budget. 

It’s also wrong to think that animation is restricted to a specific kind of business or audience. If you’re a children’s clothing store, you can use cartoony, friendly assets with bright colors and a stylized animation to captivate the kids. On the other hand, if you’re an online bank, you can embrace a clean and corporate illustration style, combined with a smooth animation full of detailed morph transitions to represent how the bank adapts to their client’s desire.

In animation, the brand’s creative direction guides how things move, how the elements interact, and how the message is sent to the audience, which can lead to increased brand engagement.

Engagement and relevance

As I said at the beginning of this article, marketing nowadays is all about engagement and awareness. People are tired of salesy scripts but are open to things that resonate with them, even if they are ads. People want to feel that the brand they’re wearing or using represents a part of their own personality, so it’s all about creating an emotional connection and inciting curiosity.

Animation’s creative freedom allows narratives to take unique directions, making the person watching the video instantly curious. And you can use it to tell any kind of narrative, no matter how abstract or concrete the subject of your story. This versatility, combined with typography, graphic design, illustration, and even live-action video, allows for unique storytelling through distinctive perspectives and dynamic visualizations.

One example of this engagement is the success of the monthly videos we create for Iluli’s Youtube Channel. If you go to any video, you’ll find not one but several comments from the viewers about how they became aware of the channel due to the ad. It captured their attention in just a few seconds, compelling them to watch the longer 5-minute videos and ultimately to subscribe.

We’ve done more than 2 hours of animation about really abstract concepts, including malware, public speaking, and nanotechnology, and the results are excellent. In 18 months, the channel grew from 0 to 77k+ subscribers and over 22 million views.

This entertaining aspect is the first step for an ad to succeed because the algorithms actually depend on the audience’s activity. You can always pay more for clicks, but organic reach is vital for brands as they not only feel more authentic, but they also require less investment. And the budget that wasn’t used to run those ads can be used on other similar campaigns, resulting in better ROI for the company.

Production speed & return on investment

Speaking of ROI, since branding is an intrinsic and never-ending part of running a business, it’s important to highlight how animation benefits from lasting campaigns and branding systems.

In terms of production, animation can be intricate and time-consuming at first. But after the visual identity is defined, new elements can be created much faster than before, and existing elements can be reused on new campaigns without requiring too much additional work. The development of animations only gets quicker as time passes.

Another significant advantage of animation is that you can make changes to your video at any time, which is virtually impossible with live-action, where you’d need to expend more time, money, and energy to set up a new shooting session.

Animation’s role in a marketing campaign

We strongly believe that animation is the special ingredient that acts as a catalyst for the message. A brand can only say so much through static content, so when those assets gain movement, they also gain a voice and transmit stronger emotions. 

The fact that animation is a series of continuous actions makes people curious about what’s going to happen next, improving their attention span and giving us a few extra seconds to create an impact and incite customer curiosity.

Animation is vital for any marketing campaign because it’s not only powerful by itself, but it also helps with the brand consistency in a live-action piece. You might need a Super or some interaction over the video to make it feel part of the brand system, so that’s where we come in.

The lower-thirds, supers, and other typographic explorations were used in the documentary series called Slacklife. The director was looking for concepts that connected visually with the slackline, and that could represent the concentration and flow state when you’re doing this activity in a unique setup such as the ones seen on the video.

Using animation to its full potencial is not an easy thing to do. No matter how you use it in a campaign, it’s always important to partner with a team like MOWE, who understands the particularities of marketing and the importance of branding for a business. Instead of just making things move, they need to be aware of the audience, the context, and goals. Being able to absorb the brand’s overall communication style guarantees the consistency that helps customers connect more easily to the campaign. 

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Raff Marques
Raff Marques
Co-founder & Creative Director at MOWE Studio

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