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Corporate Communication

How Effective Are Animated TV Commercials?

Coca-Cola’s animated polar bears, which debuted in a 1993 commercial during the Academy Awards, have become some of the most beloved animated characters in marketing history. In the ad, the polar bears share a taste of ice-cold Coke. It’s a simple but stunning piece of visual storytelling.

Since 1899, animated commercials have been delighting the viewing audience. In the world’s first animated promotion, dancing matchsticks encouraged the public to support American soldiers stationed abroad.

The “golden age” of advertising animation was in the 1950s and 60s, when we met The Trix Rabbit, Cap’n Crunch, The Jolly Green Giant, Mr. Clean, and the Keebler Elves. The Flintstones traveled beyond kids’ cartoons and sold everything from vitamins to cigarettes.

Today, animated commercials are almost everywhere - TV, social media, apps, YouTube, and built-in screens at the grocery store and gas station. So you might be wondering:


Do they really work?

The short answer is: Yes. They’re very effective. 


 Here are some reasons why.

Brand Recognition

Animated commercials are excellent at introducing a new brand and spreading recognition for the name. People are naturally drawn to bright colors and moving objects - and at their most basic level, animations are simply eye-catching.

Animations can also be branded more easily than other forms of advertising. A human being looks like a person, but an animation can look like a logo, product, mascot, or anything else that advances your brand.

Memory and Retention

Animations give peoples’ memories a boost. Moving pictures help people retain information longer and recall details about products that they wouldn’t remember otherwise.

One study by the National Institutes of Health found that people remembered animations 21 days longer than static images and text. A related study found that people could retain very complex ideas much longer after learning them through animations.

Animated TV Commercials Highlighted Text-01

Building Reputation and Trust

For any company that’s looking to build a good reputation, animations can be a huge help. People tend to give animated characters, or spokes-characters, the benefit of the doubt in a way they don’t for human beings.

Animated spokes-characters offer benefits like:

  • Tendency for people to trust them
  • Favorable brand image, even for an unknown brand
  • Perception of good financial status for the company
  • Impression that the company is creative
  • Openness to additional messages
  • Feelings of nostalgia

Sharing Humor

Does your marketing plan need a dose of good humor? Animated commercials can provide a bit of comic relief that allows people to enjoy laughing along with your brand.

Humor makes people feel connected and relaxed. It’s good for building social bonds, which is why humorous videos are so much more likely to be shared on social media than any other type of content.

Buyer Loyalty

Long-term loyalty is the holy grail of branding. Animated commercials inspire this kind of buyer loyalty because people enjoy the messages you share. They begin to look forward to seeing the next animation.

This means new customers stick around, and existing customers become even more willing to listen to what you have to say. People may not even realize the impact your animated commercials have had on them. They just think, “I like that company” — and that’s good for business.

Ready to create an animated TV commercial that delights your audience?

Connect with NextThought Studios for a custom quote, and let’s start brainstorming.

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About the Author

Janelle Bevan, M.A.

Janelle has produced and project-managed a wide array of videos ranging from corporate commercials to long-form documentaries. While completing her Master’s degree at the University of Oklahoma, she served as the graduate assistant to the department chair for the Creative Media. Janelle has worked with many nationally recognized organizations, creating documentaries for the National Association of Broadcasters, designing and editing instructional videos for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as producing the 2015 Broadcast Education Association awards show in Las Vegas. Janelle is a six-time Telly Award winner and won a 2016 Emmy for her documentary featuring a collaboration from three executive producers of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Janelle has since served as NextThought’s Director of Post-Production and Media Management and helped facilitate over 1,000 videos in the last year.