One of the most amazing things about your video content is that when they are done right, they will live online forever. Or potentially can. When a video is done well, a viewer can watch it now and not even know it may have been created four or more years ago. It can still be just as fresh and entertaining as it was when it was first uploaded.
Animation sort of lends itself to and is an excellent video style to create this sort of content that lives forever. Why? Well traditional ‘live action’ video usually incorporates people. Not always but sometimes. And those people in the video or backgrounds may “date” them to a particular time and place. It could be their language (OMG will not live forever…sorry), the clothes they are wearing (trucker hats…unless you are a trucker) or even the style of their hair (big manly beards may be sort of cool now…wait…are they anymore? I don’t know). It could even be in the background of the scenes you are shooting. That’s the problem with ‘live-action’ if you are shooting to make your video look current and edgy now, it will likely be dated in a year or two. Or a couple of months if you’re in the fashion industry. That’s what makes video so great is characters can be designed that are just as current today as they will be next year or ten years from now. Also backgrounds are typically very non-specific in nature because the focus is on the main character; whether that is a dog, person or phone.
So unless you are trying to play to current trends – everything in an animated video can be designed in a very stylized way so it doesn’t speak to a specific time or place. Animation can be created in a way to tell the story and not get in the way of it. It just becomes a vehicle to convey the emotion and tale you are looking to tell around your product, service or brand.
A great example of this is Dumb Ways to Die a PSA created by Melbourne Metro:
Not what you may have been expecting, right? Their goal for the PSA was to engage at-risk young people who were most likely to become injured in or near a Metro Train station in what they defined as “near-miss” accidents. They could have gone vanilla. They could have stuck with whatever the Melbourne Metro line was and just produced the PSA. But they didn’t. Viewers and fans have done mash ups of it. There’s a Game of Thrones edition and a Minecraft version. It’s been done with LEGOS. And after every new mashup, the original video and campaign gets a bump in new viewership and new fans who may have never seen the original before. By creating an animated video that is timeless, iconic and a cultural touchstone, Melbourne Metro has shown how branded video can be done right.
Coincidentally it has also decreased 30% “near-miss” accidents on the rail network. Which was their main goal. Through their creativity they’ve achieved longevity beyond any initial goals they had probably dreamed of. What are some of your favorite examples of branded content that’s achieved a certain level of immortality without looking dated? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below, I always answer any comments speedily to keep the discussion going.