The first audiovisual content we expose our children to is cartoons. This should be proof enough that human beings are instinctively attracted to animations.
However, the myth that only kids enjoy animated content has long been busted.
As more and more promotional activities go digital, some of the biggest brands in the world have gone the animated advertising route. For a lot of small businesses, animation advertisements have become the norm.
So why does the advertising world love animation so much?
For starters, animation goes as far as imagination goes. With increasingly sophisticated animation techniques, advertisers are now able to create extremely relatable and engaging experiences.
There are infinitely more opportunities to go ‘out of the box’ with illustrations, CGI, motion graphics and more.
What’s more is that animated advertisements are easy on the pocket. They require lesser input production-wise and often prove more effective than live-action ads.
In fact, 76% of marketers claim that animation videos help them increase profitability.
We know, the FoMo has set in and you want to jump on the bandwagon too.
But before you get started, read on about what makes a great animated ad. We have also picked some of the best-animated advertisements from around the world and broken down how they achieved that greatness.
Let the learning begin.
7 characteristics of impactful animation advertisements
1. They tell a story
Have you heard of the Narrative Paradigm? This theory suggests that humans are natural storytellers. They process information better when it’s in the form of a story than an argument.
Keeping that in mind, the single most important job of an animated advertisement is to tell a story.
With live-action, you are often limited by the ‘reality’ or logistics. It can be challenging to help your audience visualize problems and their solutions.
Animation advertisements give you the power to create a whole new world. You can create idealistic representations of problematic scenarios where your product or service comes in to save the day.
An effective animation ad also needs to keep the audience hooked until the end of the story. That’s usually where the main message of the story is positioned.
So, the storyboarders, scriptwriters, animators, and voice-over artists all need to work harmoniously to create an interesting enough experience.
Establishing a good narrative flow also requires that there are no technical glitches in the animation. A seamless transition of elements and frames throughout the video should be your team’s priority.
2. They’re timeless
A great animation ad does not age with time. Think Tom and Jerry. Generations of humans have consumed this cartoon and still find them enjoyable to date.
An effective work of animation hits home every time it’s consumed. In animation advertisements, timelessness can be achieved by making use of the universal emotions that humans have felt and will keep on feeling till eternity.
While the attractiveness of rational appeals is subject to human circumstances, emotional appeals like love, happiness, and humor seldom become obsolete.
3. They’re memorable
The goal of all marketing efforts is to drive sales. Memorability is a major factor when it comes to brand recognition, brand recall, and purchase intention.
Your animated advertisement should be sticky enough so that the next time your audience hit the store or are in the market for a relevant service, they choose you.
Try creating unique characters that strike a chord with your audience. People love and remember the warm feeling that comes with identifying with a character. Bank on that to increase the effectiveness of your animation advertisements.
4. They’re thematically sound
Animation advertisements are all about creating an experience. All the elements of your animation advertisements should be in-sync and should complement each other.
Choosing the right colors, selecting the right music, and adopting the correct tone for the voice-over can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your message.
Creating a consistent theme across multiple animation commercials and using the same characters can also do wonders for your brand recognition and recall.
5. They set you apart
If you opted for creating animated ads for your business, chances are that you’re looking to establish a unique identity for your brand.
Animation advertisements highlight your unique selling proposition. It answers why your prospects should choose you and what makes your brand stand apart from the crowd.
Establishing a unique selling proposition requires you to have in-depth insights about your target audience’s behaviors. Rely on data and analytics to pinpoint trends and address them in your animated advertising videos.
Read More: Four Steps to Crafting a Strong Brand Message
6. They solve a problem
Successful animated advertisements cater to the target audience’s pain points. Dig into your buyers’ persona and find out the challenges your prospects face in their daily lives.
Figure out innovative ways to illustrate their problems, present a viable solution and chances are your animation ad will be a hit!
Solving a problem sometimes also means simplifying information and presenting it in a digestible way.
A lot of times prospects are overwhelmed by the amount of information or the technicalities of a service and are looking for someone to break it down for them.
Make use of animated explainer videos to advertise your products in an easy-to-understand way.
Read more: Here’s Why Explainer Videos Are Perfect for Pitch Meetings
7. They present a call to action
An impactful animated commercial urges people to take action in some form.
Whether it’s cultivating curiosity to get social clicks or offering to solve a problem in exchange for a sign-up, an appropriate call to action is vital for a fruitful marketing campaign.
Read more: 15 Best Christmas Commercials of All Time
10 best animation advertisements and how they created an impact
1. Renault: The Postman
Description: In this CGI-based animated ad, Renault promotes its electric Kangoo Z.E model.
A love-struck postman who drives a rather loud vehicle is chased down by his crush’s extremely aggressive and noise-sensitive dog every day.
Until one day, he switches to Renault’s electric Kangoo Z.E which offers a smooth and noise-less drive. He’s then able to beat the dog to it, makes his delivery without any hiccups, and we’re assuming ‘gets the girl’.
The ad ends with a one-liner, “Everything starts with an electric moment”.
Characteristics: This is one of the animation advertisements that have all the ingredients of a winner. It made us go “Awwww” and brought out our puppy dog eyes.
It banks on our universal pursuit of love and our persistence to do anything to get it.
It tells a story, has a relatable character, hits the funny bone, and presents a solution to a problem. The creators set a theme by using a lot of blue hues and a catchy one-liner that marries the story and the product together.
Renault released this close to Valentine’s Day when love is naturally in the air. So, it also scores a timeliness point.
2. Oreo Canada: Wonderfilled
Description: Who doesn’t love a good jingle? This animated ad does everything right from the get-go.
In the form of a catchy song, we are taken on a ride and made to dream of a better world where sharing an Oreo would fix everything.
It makes us wonder, whether what makes someone a monster is a lack of compassion.
Characteristics: The thing about an effective jingle is that it gets stuck in your head but in a good way. You might catch yourself singing the tunes without even realizing it. Cue in brand recall and memorability!
Wonder if IIIII gave an Oreo…Oh, sorry!
Coming back to what else makes this animated advert great. The power of imagination! Owl City’s Adam Young is known to make people fantasize through his songs.
He was the perfect choice to instill that warm and fuzzy feeling of possibility and hope in the audience.
That’s emotional appeal done right and contributes to the timelessness of this work.
The animators have also done a phenomenal job with the illustrations and transitions in developing a cute children’s storybook theme.
3. Chipotle: Back to the Start
Description: This work of art by Chipotle makes us feel all the feels. It depicts a farmer and his family running a successful meat business. From animals in captivity to hormone injections to toxic waste, he is relying on inhumane practices for mass production.
However, driven by a dissonance about his actions, a sudden epiphany makes him turn his practices around. He sets all the animals free, gets rid of the hormone-driven production and suddenly the world becomes a greener and happier place.
Characteristics: This animation ad is an example of careful thought put into creating a binding theme. It pulls at the heartstrings with a country-esque rendition of Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’ to fit the scene.
The lyrics are extremely appropriate to the story as they begin with, “I was just guessing at numbers and figures…” when the farmer is shown engaged in mass production.
And right at the climax as the farmer switches to sustainable measures, the lyrics dramatically go, “I’m going back to the start”.
We’re not crying. You’re crying!
A smooth narrative flow is also observed in the ad along with a seamless transition among the frames. Here’s a behind-the-scenes view of how this animation was put together using real-life figurines and 3D effects.
Chiptole brands itself as a food company that relies on sustainable farming and organic ingredients. The ad effectively addresses this USP; a subject that its target audience is passionate about.
In the end, the audience is pushed to take action by the CTA “Cultivate a better world” along with a link to their website.
This one is a hit in our opinion!
4. Ikea: We Love the Things You Hate
Description: Short and sweet, this 2D animation ad is one of the four from Ikea’s ‘We love the things you hate’ campaign. The series digs into different behavioral insights of their target audience and addresses them in a fun way.
This particular ad covers the fact that people love shopping for new furniture at Ikea. However, it’s all fun and games until they have to put it all together.
Frustration sets in as a customer tries to work his way through the complexities of assembling his new bed. That’s when an Ikea worker happily jumps into a sea of nuts and bolts to save the day.
The tagline ‘We love the things you hate’ cleverly turns things around and makes room for selling their assembly service.
The bright colors and over-the-top expressions make for a perfect cartoon advertisement. The feel-good theme is complemented by another one-liner, “A wonderful every day” at the end.
Characteristics: Is it just us or does the Ikea worker here give major Dee Dee from Dexter’s Lab vibes? Now that was a character that knew how to enjoy life every day!
That was precisely the upbeat persona the creators were looking to create for Ikea here.
Overall, in just under 16 seconds, this ad checks the boxes of telling a story, following a solid theme, setting the brand apart, memorability, and solving a problem.
Score one for the team! Watch the other ads from the campaign here.
5. Mailchimp: Marketing Platform
Description: Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms that is beloved by its users. With increasing popularity, Mailchimp went beyond email marketing and needed to promote its new services.
Using a series of cleverly executed animated ads, Mailchimp revamped its brand identity while keeping its industry name intact.
Unlike the animated ads described above, this series relies heavily on the script to convey its message. The illustrations here are symbolic and would hold little meaning without the narration.
In a quirky sounding voice-over and by giving relatable examples, the narrator explains why you shouldn’t change your name just because you expand your services.
Characteristics: The iconic Chimp has always been a little weird in a fun way. With this campaign, Mailchimp has hit a new level of absurdity and we love it!
This animated series is designed to boost brand recall and embody their “expert absurdist” identity by using an out-of-the-box visual, tone, and narration style.
Storytelling, check. Thematic soundness, check. Memorability, check. Uniqueness, check. What’s not to love about this animated ad campaign?
6. De Lijn: Ants
Description: De Lijn is a public bus service in Belgium. This brief ad urges people to take the bus by highlighting the benefits of traveling in a pack.
A group of ants is shown marching in line carrying food over their shoulders. A giant ant-eater enters the scene and tries to suck in one of the ants.
To save their comrade’s life the rest of the ants cluster themselves around him and form a giant ball that gets stuck into the ant-eater’s nose. Consequently, they’re all set free.
The ad ends with the tagline, “It’s smarter to travel in groups” and a call to action “Take the Bus” followed by the De Lijn logo.
Characteristics: This is a great example of how symbolism can be used to convey powerful messages.
Moreover, the timeless appeal of unity and hard work is employed in this animation commercial. The use of humor appeal also adds some major points to the effectiveness of the ad.
Notice how complementing marching band music is being played in the background at the beginning. And how a sense of urgency is conveyed through music when the ants are trying to save their friend?
The Creative Conspiracy team has done a great job of setting up a theme and telling a story without any narration.
The attention to detail and seamless graphics also makes this animated commercial a winner for us!
7. Heinz: Can Size for Every Aussie
Description: If you are an Aussie or know an Aussie, you know that they love their beans on toast. Especially as their brekkie.
This is a heartwarming short story about a boy named Geoff. He loves beans so much that he dedicates his life to creating personalized bean cans for everyone.
His love for beans lands him a job as the Head of Innovation at Heinz, makes him meet the love of his life and blesses him with a family.
As more people are added to Geoff’s life, he tries to customize the beans can for all situations. This is not without some hilarious failures though.
The story comes full circle at the end with an older Geoff enjoying beans on toast with his whole family.
Who’s cutting onions here?
Characteristics: Beans on toast may be a hit but no one likes soggy toast with beans splattering down on the sides.
So, while this animated commercial tells a story, it also exhibits how Heinz solved a problem that is based on customer insight.
The whole thing looks like something straight out of a Pixar movie. The animations are on point and the attention to detail in the graphics exhibits a high level of artistry.
The comforting voice of the narrator and the feel-good classical music gel effortlessly with the animations to create a wholesome theme.
Not to mention the emotional appeals of passion, love, hard work, and family that make this adorable animated story timeless.
Notice how the product itself is introduced within the animation. The whole story is built around the different versions of the beans cans. That’s a great way to create memorability!
8. Vodafone: Happy to Help
Description: Vodafone’s iconic Zoozoo characters strike again! This 30-second animated advert gets straight to the point when an extremely anxious father is shown having a nightmare.
The poor guy is overwhelmed by his rather aggravated family demanding him to complete a host of cellular tasks.
He wakes up in a panic and calls the Vodafone Zoozoos for help with just one click. In a matter of seconds, the Zoozoos jump in, Kung Fu style, calm him down, and fix all his problems.
The one-liner “Manage family’s phone connections, in a Click” puts things into perspective.
Followed by the campaign tagline “Happy to help, in a Click” and a call to action “Get My Vodafone App”.
Characteristics: The Zoozoo characters have been around for a long time. They are a fan favorite as they are hilarious and convey the message effectively every time.
Vodafone has managed to attain high brand recall and recognition by maintaining a consistent theme in all its Zoozoo commercials.
The color scheme always remains red, white, and grey to go with Vodafone’s brand colors.
You can rely on the Zoozoos to give you a good laugh. So, the humor appeal is always successfully used. We don’t know about you but we got the giggles the moment the female Zoozoo started singing!
Most importantly, this animated ad, just like all the other Zoozoo ads, is quick to solve a problem and urge the audience to take action.
Short, snappy, and sassy. Can you tell that we are big fans?
9. New York Times: Sabah (Turkish Edition)
Description: The New York Times launched its Turkish edition with this animated masterpiece.
From landmarks around New York to historical sites in Istanbul, the audience is taken on a ride across continents powered by the Turkish script.
All the typographic illustrations in the ad are created from actual text in the first issue of the newspaper.
Characteristics: Sometimes using characters in an animated advertisement can restrict your target audience. Not everyone can relate to a certain character.
So, for a brand like The New York Times that has a diverse international audience, typography was the way to go. It also went amazingly well with the newspaper effect.
By merging the impressive lettering with 3D animation, the creator was able to produce a uniquely engaging experience.
Thematic soundness was cleverly achieved by converting the financial pages of the newspaper into Wall Street and the entertainment section into Times Square.
Start spreading the news…I want to be a part of it…New York New York. If a soundtrack has ever fit perfectly to its context, this is it. It’s like the legendary Frank Sinatra sang it exclusively for this ad.
Excuse us while we marvel and envy the creative genius behind this ad.
10. Android: Be Together Not the Same
Description: This animated advertisement is based on the decades-old Rock, Paper, Scissors game.
An unnerved-looking ‘Paper’ is on his first day of school. Looking for his clique, he walks past a group of Scissors to join a group of Papers.
He soon finds out that the familiar faces are actually bullied until a strong-looking Scissor comes in to save him.
Now friends, the Paper and Scissor are walking home together when they encounter a little Stone being bullied by other Stones.
However, in a deja vu manner, the Paper rescues the little Stone and all three of them become friends.
Characteristics: What does Android have to do with this story?
Sometimes, the goal of animation advertisements is not to sell or cause an action, rather it is to create positive feelings for the brand.
The advert joins in on the global dialogue about diversity, bullying, and individuality by showcasing three things:
the fact that good friends come in all shapes and sizes
it only takes one individual to stand up and break the cycle of bullying, and
you don’t have to ‘fit in’ anywhere to be accepted. The right ones will come to you
Through this animation ad, Android has taken a position on issues that appeal to people around the globe. Relatability leads to memorability!
By telling this unique story, and subtly calling people to stick together despite differences, Android has set itself apart from other brands.
And major props to the animators for making inanimate objects like rock, paper, and, scissors personify human emotions. We just loved those googly eyes!
And that’s a wrap! We hope that you’ve learned some actionable tips and are overflowing with inspiration to start your animated advertisement project.
Read More: How Is the Pricing of Animated Videos Calculated?