Cartoons for Business? Not Quite.

By Toby Vane

The word ‘animation’ used to be synonymous with cartoons, kid’s stuff, or the wonky but charming stop-frame of Harryhausen, and although it’s been a lot of things since Disney and the ‘Sledgehammer’ video, I still find myself cutting people off at “Like Pix…?” when explaining the animation part of what I do.

Animation, motion graphics, ‘motionography’; to me are all slightly different, but all essentially the illusion of motion through movement of graphics, these days employing the match-made repetitive binary power of computers.

It’s not just the attention grabbing visual hook of (hopefully!) great graphic design, sound colour theory, well chosen music or sound design that keeps your audience engaged, but also the concise nature of well executed animated video that can make it equally as effective as an immediate injection of identity (like a tv channel ad-break bridge) or perhaps more importantly a natural medium for explaining complex and technical subjects.

Let us also take a moment to be thankful that online you won’t find many honeytrap thumbnails enticing you to click and be tricked into watching a 55 second animation on Energy Smartmeters; animation has been spared that grubby deception for now.

The ability for animation to simultaneously show and tell is restricted only by visualisation limitations, and it can unleash the imagination in a way that its tethered live action video cousin can only dream of.

This versatility enables motion graphics to extend itself past the notion of ‘the medium is the message’. Though the artistic medium is animation, it’s message is not diminished by the nature or size of the delivery system, conveying its point as comfortably on the tiny screens of smartphones as it does on the 100ft high backdrops of festival stages.

But aside from the artistic flights of fancy it inspires and beguiles us with, there are some rock solid business imperatives to weave a bit of animation into your marketing strategy:

  • Shareability – Unique and entertaining messaging in an animated format can promote greater sharing of the relevant content, and the increased time spent watching engaging content may also improve search engine rankings. Animations can range from bite-sized 3 second logo bumpers – to full seven minute explainer videos or even short films, but their look and feel make for the perfect social media content.
  • Less dollar– While it might seem time intensive at the outset, sometimes animation can save money when used in place of difficult location shooting or expensive cast, crew and equipment.
  • Ice breaker – Potential clients want to be entertained, not just presented with facts or statistics Making an impact that gets your audience’s attention using modern images and sounds on social media platforms makes it easier for companies such as banks, insurance agents, property developers to come across as friendly, warm and (dare I say it..?) fun.
  • On fleek – Motion graphics can refresh the look of any product, adding modern elements to dynamically improve an image, logo or brand.