June 23, 2010
July’s Campaign Brief features an article by XYZ Animation Director Tim Kentley on whats hot and whats not in the world of animation. Not a bad read at all!
Tim Kentley-Klay, XYZ Studios acclaimed animation director & founder, gives Campaign Brief the inside run on what’s ticking in the world of animation.
What’s cool about animation in my book, is its perennial ability to produce the radically different – which is a powerful tool in advertising. It transports viewers to a shiny new landscape, a new world.
But that said, revolutionary style or new technology is not enough in itself. Avatar, winning no Oscars aside from craft, is an example of this truth. The lesson from this is that animation directors should should not rely on the new to carry their work. Everything needs an idea. There are a plethora of spots that are strong on eye candy but weak on story. It takes both to truly connect; to engage an audience on more than one level – which in my opinion is essential in creating anything great.
All too often ad shops are as guilty as a cover band in a pub of lifting other people’s work. For me, this is a great weakness. It’s the creative’s responsibility to ensure their product is connected to a unique idea. Whereas it’s the director’s responsibility to craft a visual execution to uniquely illuminate that idea.
But too often, it’s ass ended. Creative’s watch some ‘novel’ YouTube video with a zany animation technique and try to wrap a script around it. Well, guess what, if you’re the 2, 331, 434th person to view that vid, its not novel anymore. Chances are some ad shop in Buenos Aries has already ripped it and sent it to Cannes to be rejected anyway. It’s a weak method, one that ends in photocopying.
And my point is: why photocopy when we can paint?
It’s a powerful time in animation – there is not much that can’t be done. With this comes the responsibility for clear vision. What we need is for creatives and directors to work together to create unique, idea based work. In what can be a soulless industry, it’s the only level that is rewarding. Client included.
So to put my money where my mouth is, here’s my snap on a crop of work that floats my boat: original idea, original execution.
Result? Media attention beyond media spend.
‘Parisian Love Story’ for Google
What’s profound about this ad is its commitment to simplicity of execution derived from a purity of idea: a Google search is elevated into a love story. Like great poetry, it takes our everyday grind and makes it startling and new again. This is a brilliant example of animation that is born out of the idea. I get emotional watching it, and yet it’s what we do everyday.
‘Shiny Suds’ for Method
I love this spot by Droga5 because it has in spades what so much animation lacks: great writing. So often animation is seen through the lens of what’s ‘an in style’. As stated, this is animation that puts me to sleep – eye candy covering absence of idea. The thought here is key to why we would employ animation: soap suds ‘with attitude’. The result is viral, even more so when the spot was pulled off air. I can watch this spot over and over. Who would have thought soap suds could be so compelling?
‘Harmony’ for Toyota Prius
It’s pretty bloody obvious that in-camera animation techniques are in vogue. Big time. This horse is flogged, it’s now time for us to move on – but this spot is perhaps the ultimate expression of this wave.
The entire landscape is made out of people having a great time – being the environment. Again, the visual execution is driven by the idea, of Prius, of environment, and people feeling good again about being clean and environmental. It’s such a great mash of metaphors, and leads to such startling image making, even in the face of so many bad ‘Gondry-esque’ knockoffs jamming the airwaves right now.
I find these three spots really unique in terms of what has been done before. I believe this because they’re intelligently extended from a great idea. And this is where animation is most potent – it its ability to draw the eye of the masses despite all the noise around them. It’s the mark we should all aim to hit.