5 Must-See Examples of Effective Brand Animation
Jordan P. Kelley, Content Director, Brand Storytelling
We've all experienced this - we go to watch pieces of popular entertainment and begin to notice trends pervasive across platforms and mediums. Superhero films dominate the box office, all reality TV looks the same, and original streaming series seem to follow identical formulas, cued by what's previously and immediately popular. This pattern holds when looking at branded content and entertainment as well. Brands breaking into the storytelling space often want to emulate the same types of content they've seen work for other companies. The result is a field of content narrowed by tunnel vision, with too much focus placed on what there is the "most" of and not necessarily the "best" of.
In branded entertainment, this is especially common when it comes to the medium used to deliver a brand story. For example, the documentary short or feature is extremely popular, and rightfully so, but the popularity of this format shouldn't overshadow the breadth of opportunity available to brands looking to entertain and communicate their values. To that end, consider this a vote of confidence and an informal proposal to brands in defense of the efficacy of an underrated genre and medium: fictional animation. Often overlooked, brand animation may not be as pervasive as non-fiction or the branded doc, but it has the capacity to be incredibly captivating, whimsical, and effective for the right brand.
Need some convincing? No problem - check out these five examples of excellent brand animation from the last year that demonstrate that the genre and medium have the capacity to be entertaining, award winning, and massively popular:
The Park Bench - Aflac
The Park Bench tells the story of a girl who finds comfort in caring for a wounded duck, helping her cope through the difficulty of her father's poor health. The animated short from Aflac was put together by a crack team of elite creatives and as a result has won a number of festival awards. Comments from viewers acknowledge the value they place on seeing themselves reflected in the struggles of the film's characters, all tying back to Aflac's effort to communicate their message of care.
Hard Times for Super Thieves - VanMoof
This quirky stop-motion animated short features a coterie of elite thieves attempting to steal a VanMoof electric bicycle, with no success. The cheeky 60-second short has garnered nearly 3M views on YouTube, with a comment section full of testimonials of viewers seeking the video out for the sake of pure enjoyment. The short succinctly communicates the e-bike maker's confidence in what it calls its peace of mind features, all while having a bit of fun.
A Future Begins - Chipotle
This subtle but powerful farmer's tale is a sequel a decade in the making - telling the story of a son who reinvigorates his father's farm sustainably and without caving to the pressures created by competing farms growing inferior crops with the use of chemicals. A big message packed into a little silent film, this stop-motion heartwarmer has been the recipient of numerous awards and has been viewed over 11M times on YouTube. The purpose-driven film ends with a call to action, imploring viewers to support the next generation of sustainable farming.
The Whoopsery - Chick-fil-A
The Whoopsery, an episode in Chick-fil-A's Stories of Evergreen Hills Series, focuses on the plight of two girls who, after accidentally breaking an important family Christmas tree ornament, travel to a magical place that teaches them that wonderful things often come from the unexpected. The whimsical mini-adventure became a family holiday favorite, garnering over 71M views on YouTube. Chick-fil-A's Evergreen Hills series include making-of episodes and activity sheets to engage parents and kids during the holidays, communicating a core brand value that kindness goes a long way.
The Degen Trilogy - Coinbase
The Degen Trilogy is an animated romp featuring a group of crypto investors portrayed as action adventure heroes, each competing to become the kings and queens of a newly emerging cryptocurrency. The animation and antics reflect the look and feel of the video games and animation consumed by Coinbase's target audience of millennial Fortnite gamers and Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collectors. Viewers can connect their Coinbase wallet to engage in the interactive element of the film trilogy as episodes emerge. The slick animation style and fast-paced movement of the first installment reflect a commitment to elevated alternative storytelling on the part of Coinbase.