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

It’s not often you turn on your TV to see a seed draped in a silk smoking jacket, reading the oh-so-provocative ‘Karma Seedra’ and subtly seducing you with his all organic chat up lines. But, when something like that does find its way onto your TV, 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. And there’s not one way to do it – there’s photo-real designs, abstract animations to explain complex mechanisms, cartoon-styles, mind-bending textiles and almost anything you can think of.

With all this in mind, let’s go back to our sultry 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.”

Animation, as a medium, is a great way to reach out to an ordinarily inaccessible audience. Particularly 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 unengaged with the issue, didn’t know much about it 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 to it? You use animation to approach it in a different way.

2.Animation-in-advertising-GMO-seedsTaking a completely different turn, they transformed the humble seed into an all organic, charming seed 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. Swapping environment shots and freshly ploughed fields for dingy locker rooms and casual narcotic taking crops, it shakes up the medium and puts the message back into a format their adult audience could not only relate to, but enjoy. It’s a brave but effective piece of content, which could leave you lusting after a seed.

Be Timeless – Consider Character Animation

Another way animation can enhance advertising is by enabling you to create longevity for a brand. Crafting a character your audience can associate with and instantly recognise 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 and changed 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. They give brands a friendly face and let the audience instantly know what the advert’s about. So if you’re looking for longevity and want create your own timeless piece of content, consider animation and capture some of that character cool.

Big Dreams – Crafting a Story

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

“Tell a story 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 we see our heroes. Starting with one sporting legend struggling to get on the tube, then another shooting up to tree height as they wonder through a sun drenched park, it’s a touching take on the tag line “Make them giants” and a masterfully crafted piece of animation.

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 or are looking to tell a stand-out story, then animation could be the medium to do just that.


As a quick reminder of some of the key points to consider, we’ve swung 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, like colour
Amy Durrant

Amy Durrant

Amy is a copywriter and all round creative type at Pebble Studios. With bundles of agency experience at Karmarama and her past life as a music, technology and design journalist, she has a love for all things creative.

Creative, Pebble Studios

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