Hiding in Plain Sight

Hiding in Plain Sight: How Animation is Taking Over in Advertising

In Animation by Holly WardLeave a Comment

There has been a rise in the use of animation in advertising. This has been attributed by UK’s Three Motion Media to the medium’s expressive nature, its ability to communicate a brand’s spirit, and most importantly, deliver content in a format that can surpass perception or reality”.

There are plenty of beautiful and effective animated adverts out there, such as this year’s Wimbledon advert: In pursuit of Greatness by Nexus Productions.

In our previous blog post; Is animation the right fit? we covered the reasons why you might use animation instead of live-action in your marketing in more detail.

However, animated content can also be added into live action video. If you decide that live action is the best approach for your project, you can still choose to use animation as well, and take advantage of all it has to offer!

Let’s take a look at the animation in advertising you might have missed or forgotten about.

Animation is Everywhere

Almost every advert or video we will come across has some animated or graphic content, often overlaid over the live action footage, or to start or end the video. This could be a logo, text, or effect. These are added to brand the video, increase its impact, help explain the product or service and get the point across quickly.

This advert for Clear Blue has the lot.  

Although clearly a live-action video, the graphic and animated content plays a key role in conveying the advert’s message as well as emphasising the brand.

Bringing your Branding to Life

By branding live-action footage you can immediately convert it into a marketing tool, whether it is stock footage, social media content or a commissioned advert. This can be as simple as overlaying an image of your logo. Through the addition of animation, you can make it more interesting and impactful.

You often see animated logos at the start of films; we are all familiar with the Universal and 20th Century Fox idents, but animated logos can be used in marketing as well. Motion will always draw the eye, so animating your logo calls attention to your branding. Once you create an animated version of your logo it can be used across a number of marketing campaigns and or platforms, soon it will become synonymous with and strengthen your brand.

For example this simple but effective animated logo at the start and end of this Xbox one advert.

Adding an animated logo to your videos ties your marketing together and raises the quality of a piece. Giving it a high end feel without too much outlay or cost.

Typography: Say it with Words 

Typography is often the most overlooked part of a video, especially in the early stages of production. However, typography can actually be crucial in making sure the key message of a video is communicated.

Like in this example: from Uber. If you remove the text overlays the video would no longer have the same meaning or effect.

Typography can be used instead of, or to emphasise audio or voiceover, which can sometimes be difficult for viewers to access. Making the video watchable and still effective without sound.

It’s also handy to convey legal stuff that has to be included but isn’t that relevant to the aim of the video. Often with tiny text at the bottom of the screen as in the Clear Blue example above.

Animation or kinetic typography comes in to make sure that the text is a positive addition, adding to the design and capturing your attention with motion as well as conveying the important information. There are some amazing examples of creative kinetic typography in advertising such as this advert for Fanta.

Pushing the Realms of Reality

Through animation, it is possible to create the impossible and the impractical whilst on a budget. So animation is often utilised when portraying the future, the past or beyond our realm of reality.

However, on occasions when a wholly animated video isn’t suitable or wanted, the addition of animated effects to live action footage can achieve the same outcome without having to sacrifice the look or feel of a live action video.

This Spanish MacDonald’s advert portrays a futuristic world where the Big Mac is still close to our hearts. Animated content and effects have been used to realise this vision.   

Stop that Motion!

Stop Motion Animation can also be used to achieve more than is possible with live action video alone. A film effect almost as old as film itself, used by George Méliès in the early 1900’s to create magical effects, and still an effective way to add a little magic into film.

This M&S advert uses a seamless blend of stop-motion and animation to create this amazing kinetic food advert. Adding motion to food that would not be possible in live action alone.

Taking this to the next level, there is a Stop Motion technique known as Pixelation, where live actors are used as a kind of living stop motion puppet.

Johnny Chew from Life Wire explains more about Pixilation in this article from Lifewire. Suggesting that the result of Pixilation is;

“a surreal look at our real world. The laws of physics and the real world no longer apply since we’re using animation, but since our environment and characters are real places it puts a unique twist on filmmaking.”

This technique can be used as a way to blend live actors with animated ones. Like in this advert for Wilkinson Sword.

With animation, imagination is the limit! By adding animation to live action film you really can push the realms of reality. 

Animation: The Creative Spark that adds Originality

Animation and graphic content play an important role in most adverts. However, the greatest power of animation in commercials is to make something interesting and unique. Successful marketing is about standing out, being recognised and being creative. Animation can be a powerful tool to help create something different, something people will talk about, or even show others.

Adidas have crammed so much animation into one of their current short promos: Creativity is the Answer. It makes use of typography, projection mapping, full-blown 2D animation, data-moshing, rotoscoping, stop motion and animated backgrounds. Although it contains a whole variety of live-action footage, it’s the animation that makes this a cohesive and unique piece.  

As we have seen animation doesn’t always mean cartoons and anthropomorphic characters. Animation is defined as ‘full of life,’ or the ‘illusion of movement’. So if it’s graphic and it moves it’s animation! There’s a whole variety of animation that can bring your videos to life!

Animation may not be at the forefront of many adverts or even recognised by the audience, but animation in Live Action video is here to stay. For us, the future of advertising is an animated one!

Have a project that you think could benefit from the addition of animated content?

Then get in touch with Stampede to discuss how we can make it happen.

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