Animation to the rescue

Speech bubble graphic on a dark blue background

We are abruptly waking up to a new world order. Across the planet, the number of people under some form of government-enforced lockdown currently stands at around 2.6 billion – one-third of the human population. It’s still unclear when these measures will be lifted. One thing is certain though, the way we communicate with each other – with our friends, our families, colleagues, clients, customers and those who supply essential services to us – has fundamentally changed.

Creating content under lockdown

In terms of creating content, live action filming is no longer a viable option – for TV, theatrical or digital production. Thankfully, there are myriad other ways to create digital content that cuts through the noise, engages with the intended audience and helps simplify messaging across wide-ranging topics. 

One of the most classic examples of this is animation – from simple kinetic typography to complex character-based films, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. The most heartwarming fact about animation, in these constrained days of house-bound populations, is that every single element of production can be carried out from the artist’s bedroom, study or kitchen table – from storyboards to animatics, from voiceover recordings to sound effects (SFX). This makes this form of content creation a very attractive and viable option for anyone struggling to produce assets for their digital channels. 

Why choose animation?

With creative direction from the agency-side, and on-going collaboration and feedback points with the client team, animation assets can be produced quickly and smoothly using all the digi-tech that is (luckily) already available for file-sharing between artists. There are a variety of simple and user-friendly programmes that can also be utilised for creative review at each stage of the journey.

Animation, illustration and design have been at the heart of Raw London’s content creation since the agency began, and we often suggest this route as an option for campaigns. Now, more than ever, we see animated assets as a cost-effective, logistically-sensible and seriously effective way of communicating a message. Perhaps, for now at least, the track-pad is mightier than the f-stop.

Examples of storytelling with animation

The South Asia & WW1 film we created for the Royal British Legion combines the use of existing archive materials (through access to the Imperial War Museum’s extensive photographic library) alongside cinemagraphing + parallax techniques that give movement to still images and created an evocative effect. The film performed very well with the intended audience and was one of the most highly shared assets in The Legion’s centenary ‘Thank You’ campaign, with unprecedented engagement.

We produced the award-winning Untold Story film for the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), composed of existing archive materials (i.e. the client’s extensive stills gallery) layered with specially-designed motion graphics elements to bring the stats to life. Much of the narrative around the issue of Internal Displacement is communicated through statistics, so the biggest challenge was finding a creative approach that would make the issue interesting and accessible to the general public. The client team loved the fact that it appealed to cold, new audiences as well as ‘warm’ academics in their peer network.

World Vision commissioned us to create Age of Innocence as part of their global campaign – It Takes a World to End Violence Against Children, which called on the UK Government and the Department for International Development (DfID) to increase spending on ending violence against children. With limited access to children in countries affected by conflict, this emotional film uses animation to tell a story that’s representative of children’s real-life experiences. The style is deliberately reminiscent of 80s cartoons and plays on the tropes of kids TV shows to appear entertaining and draw social audiences in. The result is a bold and arresting visual narrative that appeals particularly to the Millennial generation who are more likely to drive petition numbers and support World Vision in the long term.

Gamer Girl: Ellie’s Story highlights how Teenage Cancer Trust is seen as the global gold standard in cancer care for young people. This unique beneficiary story uses an 8-bit retro gaming animation style to depict Ellie’s journey through cancer and beyond. The game reflects the story she tells, with obstacles representing the difficulties and challenges she faced: loneliness, treatment, setbacks and missing out on important elements of growing up. But she is able to overcome these challenges with the help of other characters also represented in the game: family, friends and the nurses who give her the power to carry on.As the official partner of the Virgin Money London Marathon 2018, Teenage Cancer Trust launched the film to coincide with the increase in awareness and website traffic leading up to and following the marathon.

Papertown was designed as the centrepiece of the campaign to attract corporate partners to support Crisis at Christmas, aiming to raise vital funds that will help end homelessness. To encourage companies to purchase a sponsorship package, share with contacts and help support the cause, the campaign appeals to all levels of business – from the CEO to workers on the shop floor. It strikes a balance between strong emotions and clear brand association with a strong visual theme that is integrated across print, digital, email and social media assets.

Tommy’s asked us to create Your Baby’s Mum to promote self-care and wellbeing among demographics of women who are less likely to focus on their mental health during and post pregnancy. We kicked off the campaign with a manifesto animation that expresses the importance of taking time for yourself, and promotes Tommy’s’ innovative new digital wellbeing tool. The animation forms the backbone of a distribution strategy and 10-week social media plan with more than 75 bespoke social media assets. The campaign was launched across five social media channels and multiple target audience groups in July 2019. It received brilliant feedback from new mums and pregnant women and was featured on ITV’s This Morning alongside Izzy Judd, one of the key ambassadors for the campaign.

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