10 Top Tips for animated video adverts

So, to ensure that brands and businesses create animations that really hit the high notes, we’ve shared our top 10 tips for animated video adverts.

Written by Jack Last

10 Top Tips for animated video adverts

When done well, animated video adverts are a brilliant addition to a marketing campaign.

 In terms of brand recognition, brand awareness and building a positive brand image, the medium of animation is invaluable.

 With this specialist guidance at your disposal, you can be sure that you understand exactly what your advert needs to truly engage your target audience.

1. Strongly connect with the audience

First and foremost, since there’s no real people in the advert, you’ll need to work extra hard to successfully establish an emotional connection between the characters and your audience.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this connection - not only does it ensure you engage and connect with your target audience, but this hook will keep your viewers watching until the very end.

What’s more, by establishing a strong connection with your audience, they are far more likely to consider your brand when looking for a service or product provider.

Furthermore, by including a clear, relevant and emotive connection in your campaign, you can revolutionise how your service or product based business is seen. A personable brand that successfully taps into the mind of its audience is worlds away from a bland corporate identity - and you can easily imagine which one will be preferred by your audience.

It’s with these key benefits in mind that countless marketing giants have focused on establishing a strong connection. In some of the most notorious adverts of the decade, you can clearly see how this sense of emotional audience connection was at the top of the priority list.

The Compare the Market adverts are a prime example of this. After a series of very successful adverts featuring Alexander and Sergei, the marketing brains introduced additional characters to the meerkat duo - Oleg and Ayana.

With these charming ‘meer pups’, the Compare the Market adverts were able to create an even stronger connection with their audience. And, by drawing on the intense emotional reaction that we have to cuteness, they made their brand identity even more memorable.

Now, these characters have formed a core and beloved part of the company’s advertising strategy. In fact, you can even Meet the Meerkats on the company website!

2. Use music and sound effects to create emotion and persuade engagement

Animated video adverts need to be considered as a complete package.

While the animated illustrations may be on point, a dull or unmemorable soundscape can quickly turn your advert into a damp squib.

As with any animated film, music and sound effects set the drawings alight. They are the final piece of the advert’s puzzle, giving it energy, dynamism and excitement.

In addition, music and sound is also a fantastic way to enhance the message that you are trying to deliver. Through sound, you can emphasise the feelings that you want your audience to experience when watching this video.

Take the Cadbury’s Drumming Gorilla advert as an example. Who could forget this iconic example of modern advertising?

Phil Collins’ timeless song ‘In the air tonight’ is used to bring a sense of familiarity to the advert. Plus, in this advert, the song’s iconic drumbeat is cleverly used as a core part of the storytelling. It is at once familiar and completely bonkers.

Alongside this, a soundscape of wind and the gorilla’s breathing makes the whole scene feel super realistic.  

The fun and playfulness of the advert perfectly compliments the brand’s tagline of ‘A glass and a half full of joy’.

As you can see, music and sound effects can be used to enhance the emotions that your advert evokes in your target audience, and thereby how they feel towards your brand. And, by ensuring that your animated advert really delivers on emotion, you can maximise its potential for raising brand awareness.

3. Carefully select your voice over

Building on the point above, voice overs are a core audio component in adverts. And, while this goes for all adverts, voice overs have a particularly important role in animated adverts.

By including a voiceover in your animated videos, you can take your target audience by the hand, and lead them through the journey you’re trying to convey.

A well-selected voice over ensures that no key points are missed, and that the viewer fully comprehends what your brand is and why they should support it.

In fact, some of the best animated adverts don’t have a directly clear link between the characters and the company’s services.

For one of Heinz’s recent adverts, the brand has included a guest appearance from Ed Sheeran. And, as much as we may love Ed and his music, it’s no good if the audience has no idea what relevance his participation has to the product!

Thankfully, with the addition of a clear and concise voice over script, the two elements create a harmonious and highly effective advert.

In fact, what this advert does particularly well is creating a strong fusion between the audio and the visual. The audio gives us a glimpse into Ed’s mind, while the visuals are his fantasy come to life. And this creates a lot of humour, relatable moments, and memorable, wacky elements.

4. Use engaging video animation techniques (for example stop motion)

Classic illustrations are great, don’t get us wrong. But, the field of video animation is far wider than this one method.

There’s loads of animation techniques out there for you to consider. These include (but aren’t limited to) retro animation, 360 degree animation, stop motion animation, typography animation, whiteboard animation, flipbook animation and many, many more.

A great example of alternative animation is the partnership between DFS and the stop-motion giants Aardman. These adverts are full of charm, fun and character. As a result, not only are they extremely memorable, but the audience is actually pleased to see it appear on their screens!

The benefits of choosing more unusual animation techniques is that they can help you to deliver your message uniquely to your target audience. As such, they are more likely to make your advert stand out from the crowd.

If you aren’t sure which animation style would be the best fit for your brand, we recommend speaking to an animation agency. They will help you to review the top animation video techniques out there, and find the one that will most successfully engage your audience’s attention.

5. Focus your animated video around a key business seasonal time

Whatever industry you’re in, all businesses have major moments in their annual calendar. These could be major seasonal events, or announcing new product or service launches.

Either way, creating a focused video to back up this key business moment can be a game changing way to deliver important brand messages to your audience. By timing your advert right, you can ensure your audience is engaged in what your company is doing right now.

6. Consider the length of the video

With adverts, it’s certainly not the case that ‘the longer the better’.

The Red Bull adverts are a prime disprove of this common misconception. If you can deliver your message neatly and succinctly, while engaging your audience from start to finish, it doesn’t matter if your advert is 10 or 100 seconds long. Don’t just make your advert longer for the sake of it!

Finding the right advert length is all about considering your target market and the marketing platform that you’ll be using, and then choosing an advert length that promises the greatest likelihood of success.

Video length is a critical choice for advertisers, as consumers have a very specific attention timespan, and it’s very unlikely that they’ll continue to watch your ad for any longer than this. This metric differs considerably between different marketing platforms, and different target market demographics.

So, you need to understand the target audience that the video is for, how it will be delivered and whether or not the message can be delivered within the required time frame. If not, then you might need to rethink your advert content.

7. Ensure the message is perfectly clear

As easy as it is to get lost in the fun of animation design and script writing, don’t forget the importance of clarity.

The clarity of your message has the power to make or break the success of your animated video advert.

A poor message can leave consumers confused, with no understanding of the action that you’re encouraging them to take. This can be hugely detrimental to the brand, and even put potential customers off engaging with your brand in the future.

So, it’s vital that you ensure your video has a clear and succinct message. To evaluate the clarity of your advert, we recommend asking someone (who has never seen it before) to watch the advert and share their feedback with you.

Do they understand the narrative? Does the voiceover make sense? Are they able to follow the story and its relevance to the brand?

8. Consider mobile

Mobiles are the devices that consumers use most often. In fact, did you know that mobile advertising now accounts for more than half of ad spending?

This is a clear indication of how much consumers engage with this advertising medium, and the value for brands to gain from mobile advertising.

So, if you’re converting your advert to a mobile view format (and we highly recommend that you do so) it’s critical that you include mobile-friendly versions of all the main video elements. These include, for example, logos, text overlays and call to actions.

It’s all-too-easy for these elements to be missed, especially if this marketing channel hasn’t been considered properly. So, be sure to add these checks to your to-do list!

9. Deliver brand personality

Delivering a marketing message is obviously a major component of the advertising creation process.

However, don’t forget that delivering the message with your brand personality is another aspect that needs to be considered.

If you were asked to name the most memorable adverts of the last few years, you’ll most likely name the ones that were filled with personality.

These could be fun characters like the famous Churchill dog, the witty message of the Specsavers adverts, or the beloved John Lewis Christmas adverts.

These adverts were hugely successful because the best brands have a very clear, individual way of speaking to their audience. After all, a strong brand identity not only covers colours and logos, but it should also cover language and tone of voice, too.

Successful adverts build on a strong brand identity, and resonate with all of the individual elements within it. So, when creating an animated advert, ensure that you deliver your message in line with the personality you’ve built up for your brand.

10. Make sure the animation video serves a purpose

For animation videos to be effective, they need to be created with purpose.

If you aren’t clearly set on the advert’s purpose - the message you want to communicate, and the reason why you want to create the advert in the first place - then there’s no way that the audience will be able to see a clear call to action.  

It’s important to plan this core purpose, before you even consider briefing it into an animation agency.

Your purpose could be announcing a new product, creating an animation explainer video, or informing people about an upcoming company event. Or, it could be focused on boosting a key brand metric, such as brand awareness, expanding your audience, or increasing sales.

Whatever the purpose, it’s essential that you understand this from the very beginning of the process. And then, throughout each stage of the video’s creation, keep asking yourself ‘is it serving this purpose?’. This element of your video needs to be super tight.

Why work with an animation agency like OK Social?

As you can see, there’s a lot of individual elements that can make or break an animated advert. For a beginner attempting to follow the process, it can be extremely difficult to tick all the right boxes.  

By working with an animation agency, you can access the creative skills and industry knowledge of animation experts. These creatives can help you with every step of the process, ensuring that every single element is super strong.

At OK Social, our team includes specialist script writers, animators, designers, audio creators, and directors.

Our animation agency connects you to a wealth of talent, who will work with you to bring your vision to life. Following your direction, they will create a stylish animated advert that promises a high level of engagement amongst your target market.

To find out more about the benefits of working with an animation agency, or to enlist OK Social to design your new animated video advert, drop us a line.

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I’m Jack, the Motion Director here at OK Social. I’ve been working in the world of motion design and animation for nearly 10 years. I had the pleasure of working with leading agencies and brands around the world, such as Samsung, Ford, Shell, Deliveroo, and Starbucks, to name a few.

From a young age, I’ve always been interested in animation, from making stop-motion films in my room as a kid to learning animation on my first computer. It started as a passion and still is to this day. Part of what I do now is more than just animation. I help craft the narratives of the stories we tell to ensure they make an impact to the audience and remain worthy of their attention.

So how do I do that? It starts with asking the right questions, leading to solving the right problems. First, diagnose what the problem is. Then, we can start to see if we can help. I believe that communication plays a key role in delivering a smooth and successful project. Looking into the future, I’m excited to expand my knowledge into creating more engaging stories that make a difference.