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Anish Mehta, CEO, Cosmos-MayaCosmos-Maya
Anish Mehta, CEO Cosmos-Maya writes about the importance animation could play in the future of advertising
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Indian Animation – Advertising the future

Anish Mehta, CEO Cosmos-Maya writes about the importance animation could play in the future of advertising
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  • At a time when it is difficult to shoot outdoors, animation professionals have continued working from home to churn out the volumes.
  • As consumption steadily rises, the spotlight is on Indian animation to cater to the increased demand for fresh, engaging content, writes Anish Mehta, CEO Cosmos-Maya.

Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive – Walt Disney

The unfortunate Covid crisis has greatly impacted the business landscape of the world. In the era of social distancing, production of live-action advertisements is a tough ask. Advertisers able to shoot can only do so in restricted environments. Production costs and turnaround times have increased at a time when new product launches are backed by limited client budgets.

Crisis or no crisis, the show must go on. Unlike their counterparts in live action, animation professionals have continued working from home to churn out the volumes. As consumption steadily rises, the spotlight is on Indian animation to cater to the increased demand for fresh, engaging content. It has risen to the challenge, providing a much needed cheer to millions of households. Animation as an audiovisual media has tremendous reach today, and the current crisis is but a catalyst to the imminent paradigm shift to this creatively efficient medium.

With animation, advertisers have the option to visually depict anything they want, any way they like, from the comfort and safety of their homes. The inclusivity of the medium in terms of storytelling allows it to consolidate all audiences. With animation, vivid, complex characters and layered stories can easily be created from scratch and showcased to a wide variety of people. Advertisers can also tie up with distributors to leverage the brand equities of existing animation IPs and characters. Animation as a medium is known to naturally invoke childhood nostalgia and pester power, both potent sellers.

Brands have been employing animation for their ad campaigns for a while now since it can be used to depict their offerings in creative, yet precise ways. The fun aspect of animation can breathe life even into the ‘dry’ categories. Exactly 20 years ago, in a clutter busting move, O&M used animated characters for the iconic, award winning Amaron Batteries campaign with the Hare and the Tortoise (Lasts Long Very Long). A brand new entrant in the market, Amaron immediately gained a 6% market share, and even today is a leader its space. Soon after came the vastly successful ‘Chintamani’ campaign by ICICI Prudential. Not only did the insurance company witness a brand recall of 92 percent, the character also became the brand’s mascot.

The inclusivity of the medium is such that animated ads have the ability to transcend even global boundaries. Mondelez International used this quality with its delightful Play With Oreo campaign, which saw the same animated ad being run in 40 languages the world over, including Hindi. A single 30-second ad reached more than 50% of the world’s population without burning a hole in the pocket.

There are several options available to advertisers vis-à-vis animation types. The most commonly used are 2D animation, 3D animation, Motion Graphics and Stop Motion, with further sub-categorization. With advancements in technology, India today produces state of the art animation content. Most studios in the West continue to outsource their projects to India. Over the years, the production time has reduced significantly. Typically, a 30 second ad takes anywhere between 7-10 days to produce once the storyboard is finalized. The post production takes another 5-7 days. More the number of characters and more elaborate the frames of the ad, more will be the manpower and systems deployed for it. Higher budgets translate to higher quality.

Here lies the opportunity to unlock a sustainable, long lasting partnership. The best business ideas are conceived in times of great adversity. Covid-19 may be here to stay, but the one fool proof solution going forward is adaptation. In an increasingly digitalizing world, brands and advertisers that adapt quickest to the changing landscape will be the ones who not only pull through, but also prosper.