Animation in Advertising: Taking notes from a foul-mouthed seed

Animation in Advertising: Taking notes from a foul-mouthed seed

It’s not often you turn on your laptop to see a seed draped in a silk smoking jacket, reading the ‘Karma Seedra’ and seducing you with his organic chat up lines. But, when something like that does find its way onto your screen, it’s the kind of thing you remember. Animation used in advertising is a sure-fire way to create a memorable piece of content and resonate with your audience. If you can imagine it, there are no boundaries to animation.

“If you can imagine it, there are no boundaries to animation.”

It’s the perfect medium to add extra layers of subtlety and emotion to a campaign and a great format for crafting timeless characters. Animation can create a unique sense of empathy, give you complete control of the landscape and help you communicate abstract messages in a fresh, unique way.

There’s not one way to make animated adverts either – from photo-real designs to pure cartoon and mind-bending textiles, there’s a style to fit every concept.

With all this in mind, let’s go back to Mr. Seed and find out a little more about why we should be taking notes from our foul-mouthed friend.

Bad Seed – Talking To Your Audience

Reaching out to an adult audience through advertising can be a tricky business. The message has got to be spot on, the content has to be relevant and relatable, or you risk missing your target market completely. In fact, it’s such a precise science, that we wrote a whole piece about it.

“Animation is a great way to reach out to an ordinarily inaccessible audience.”

Animations marketing brands work well because they’re a great way to reach out to an ordinarily inaccessible audience. This is particularly true if your message is about conserving crops and promoting seed research and education. Not-for-profit organisation Seed Matters saw that the majority of their market were not engaged with the issues, didn’t know much about them and weren’t doing their own research to find out more. So, what do you do when the people you need to see your message are generally ambivalent? You use animation to approach it in a different way.

Taking a completely different turn, they transformed the humble seed into an all organic, charming hunk who blitzes his own manure in the morning. Straddling the line between dark, adult satire and serious messaging, it’s an incredibly risqué take on the traditional idea of advertising. ‘Mr. Seed’ swaps environment shots and freshly-ploughed fields for GMO-bro seeds snorting back lines in a dingy locker room. The messaging style shakes up the medium and puts the core of the campaign into a format an adult audience could not only relate to, but enjoy. It’s a brave piece of content, made all the more effective by the excellent voice work of comedian Pete Holmes, proof that bringing the right talent to a project is still crucial, even if your concept is already strong.

Be Timeless – Consider Character Animation

An advantage of using animations for marketing purposes  is that it enables you to create real brand longevity. Crafting a relatable, easily-recognised character is a simple way to be truly timeless and set yourself up with content for years to come. Whereas actors change and TV ads have to be re-shot, animated characters never age and can be quickly tweaked into whatever you need them to be.

“Consider character animation if you’re looking for longevity”

When you think about classic character ads, the ones which instantly spring to mind are the Tony the Tigers and Honey Monsters of the world – and that’s because they have personality. Memorable characters give brands a friendly face and provide instant recognition factor. So if you’re looking for longevity and want to create a resonant piece of content, using animation will ensure that your brand always looks both timeless and fresh.

Big Dreams – Crafting a Story

The last thing our foul mouthed seed can teach us, is that animation in advertising is the perfect vessel for storytelling. Rather than simply explaining your messages in font format, why not weave a heartwarming story into your ad and tell a story that your audience haven’t heard before?

“Tell a story that your audience haven’t heard before.”

By nature, we all respond much better to a tale than something relayed to us in a rigid format. O2’s charming cartoon for the England rugby team is a wonderful example of how animation can evoke a real sense of emotion and captures not only the spirit of the nation, but that childhood wonder we experience when we meet our heroes. Taking a visual tip from Warner Bros’ classic 1999 animated film ‘The Iron Giant’, ‘Wear The Rose – Make Them Giants’ is a densely pigmented classic 2D world with 3D elements that plays beautifully with its target audience, mixing nostalgia and technology to create something truly special. As members of England’s rugby team slowly (and literally) swell with national pride, even non-sports fans might find themselves welling up.

Whether it’s the towering England rugby team or a sensual seed, animation really can add another layer of empathy, comedy or emotion to your campaign and gives you complete control of the content. We’re not saying it’s relevant to refer to the ‘Karma-Seedra’ for all your ads, but if you are thinking about approaching your message in a slightly different way, then animation could be the medium to do just that.

As a quick reminder of some of the key points to consider, we’ve slung together a short round-up to keep in mind, for when you’re next thinking about animation in advertising:

  1. Craft characters – Create characters your audience will relate to or recognise when thinking about your brand.
  2. Tell a story – We all remember stories we’re told. Think about how you can craft a narrative in animation, to tell a surprising or different story.
  3. Talk to your audience – Keep your messaging in the same tone your audience will relate to and think about bending the rules of animation to create something stand-out.
  4. Play with the elements – As our bonus tip, think about the surrounding elements, such as colour.
Pebble Studios
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