“Advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.”— Jerry Della Femina
The new-age campaigners
Can a malodorous skunk sell perfume? Surprisingly, it can and with great conviction! The point in case is the adorable animated badger in the Air Wick air freshener commercial that does the unimaginable job so well that it can give any Bollywood celebrity a run for their money. Consequently, the Indian television is witnessing lots of animated characters fast becoming the face of many Indian brands. No wonder, after movies and cartoons, the Indian ad world has set the ball rolling for the animation industry.
The unlimited scope of accommodating creative talent and the knack for experimentation in the ad world has created a niche space for animation. “That is why we have so many successful animated icons in the ad world,” states Vaibhav Kumaresh, Director, Vaibhav Studios. Look around and one will find a spate of animated mascots such as Louie, the gangsta-styled mosquito, selling its own death knell in the form of Mortein, Pillsbury’s cherubic doughboy, Bajaj Allianz’s informative Super Agent, ICICI’s common man Chintamani and the queen of all endorsers – the impish Amul girl, whose charisma is still unmatchable and splashed across all forms of media! These new age mascots have a lasting appeal and lend a whole new dimension to the brand, as competently as any celebrity.
Supreet Bhamrah, MD, Frameboxx, points at the huge platform that Indian television is offering to the world of animation. The moment you switch on the television set, you automatically tune into the world of graphics, some visible and some behind the scene. Be it the Coca Cola commercial where Amir Khan is transported into the world of video games or the new Idea commercial where Abhishek Bachchan dons the role of a sagacious tree giving gyaan on the ways to fight global warming and deforestation; animation is changing the dynamics of television viewing. He feels that the need of the hour is to bridge the gap between animation institutes and animation studios and bring them closer to the demands of the advertising world. This will provide the necessary link between the three to produce excellent animated content and pool in the much required workforce.
Stealing the show
Animation provides an out-of-the-box feel to the brand and helps in fixing it firmly in the imagination of the targeted consumers. Animated characters break the monotony created by the innumerable human faces and their equally high number of associations with a variety of brands. For instance, all shampoo and hair oil ads have some or the other Bollywood actors endorsing the same, which creates a state of confusion in the minds of the audience. On the other hand, animated characters like Clinic Plus girl ‘Chulbuli’ created by Vaibhav Kumaresh create brand awareness and have a universal appeal to all kinds of viewership. Kumaresh elucidates, “If made well, an animated film can make as strong an emotional connect as any other medium. I feel animated characters come out as neutral, unbiased entities. This helps to quite an extent in creating that connect. Our own Simpoo sir, the angry maths teacher on Channel [V] has a huge adult fan following! All this can only be due to an emotional connect with the character.” On the lighter side, Bhamrah also feels that animated brand ambassadors do not cost as much as their human counterparts; nor do they become old or throw celebrity tantrums like the real ones!
The vast domain of Indian advertising is offering a colossal potential for the growth of animation programming. It provides two main areas of work: designing animated characters and adding special effects to advertisements. “With special effects and animated humour in commercials, the audience is automatically glued to watching the same programme instead of flipping channels between breaks,” adds Girish Mahajan, Co-founder and Director, Webitude. Animation in advertising can be in the form of 2D, 3D, claymation, flip-page and light animation such as the awe inspiring yet simply executed Eveready Ultima Battery ad with the use of torches, LED lights and digicams! The concept of animation in brand endorsements gives room to creative experimentation and the flexibility to make the character do things that are beyond the reach of humans. That is why even serious businesses such as insurance are focusing on comical mascots such as Chintamani to lend a fresh appeal to the otherwise incomprehensible somber field. In fact ads issued in public interest are communicated via this new medium for a greater appeal.
The scope of animation in advertising covers areas such as script writing, character designing, art direction, story boarding, sound designing, technical direction, production management and voicing for animation. These days the media are helping generate awareness and enthusiasm among viewers for more and more animated content in advertising. Recently, Tata DoCoMo unveiled its ‘Create Animation Contest’, which invited animation enthusiasts from all over the country to create short animation clips using the brand’s logo and signature tune. In no time the company received over hundreds of entries and finally two people were adjudged winners and their commercials telecast on every major television channel!
With growing demand, the future of animation in the field of advertising is bright. It is fast expanding its scope as animated characters become the new brand icons challenging the supremacy of the Khans and Bachchans!