In retrospect, 4 years seems like yesterday. I remember not too long ago in 2015; teaming up with and hauling my workstation over to Stink Studios to help deliver a project. Further, I recall onboarding full-time staff after winning a bigger design project for a medical account. The vulnerable moment presenting Blacksmith alone to a boardroom full of HBO executives in Manhattan was an experience where I was so nervous I could feel my hands sweat. All the sweet work we’ve churned out over the years. The pitch wins. The losses. But the truth of the matter is, bigger picture-wise, we’ve only just scratched the surface. I have a grand plan in mind for this creative platform that I want to execute. Know that Blacksmith was designed for long term durability and the marathon.
Over the years I’ve built slowly purposely. It’s given me time to strategize, make mistakes and fuck up, feel out the weather and our workforce. Rethink. Rebuild.
Forwardly the focus will be the development of a cohesive brand and a portable platform for creative honey, like mixed martial arts for the creative fighter. In addition, I am intending to build a film division, that we’ll begin carrying out during this year. Screenwriting, fuzzy characters, rigging, animation and an aim for Super Bowl commercials — you know, the works. After all, we’re in the creative Mecca of LA, might as well give it the full nine.
I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is about all this, but dreaming up scenarios and slowly chipping away at converting them to reality is what makes me tick. It’s like oxygen to me, I’m so fucking thrilled y’all! With all this said, here’s to another 365 of building shit and making moves.
Animation is the best worst-kept secret in advertising. While some brands and companies brush off animation for a number of reasons, such as the perceived high cost, the fear that animated content will come across as cartoonish, and more, this is- in most cases -a mistake. In fact, beverage businesses who choose to skip animation in every facet of their business, are missing out on a plethora of benefits.
Whilst animation can benefit beverage businesses in a multitude of ways unrelated to advertising (more on this later), the world of advertising/marketing is where a company will benefit most from implementing animation into their marketing strategy.
1. A product can be styled to look more desirable in ads.
Real life is… well, real. The beverage is what it is, and it looks how it looks; you can’t get past this simple fact when it comes to shooting live action video ads. With animation, you can make a beverage look more delicious, more vibrant and more desirable than it ever could in its real-life form. Liquid can be designed to behave in unrealistic, fantastical ways and appear exactly how you want it to, which is near impossible to achieve during a shoot, whereas designers can utilize software such as Houdini, Realflow or X-particles to produce awesome looking CG liquid. If the product looks out-of-this-world delicious on your adverts, the viewer is more likely to want it- ultimately, this is conducive to making more sales.
2. There are, in a lot of cases, reduced costs and workflow efficiencies associated with producing animated ads.
In contrast to the common opinion, it can actually be cheaper to produce an animated ad rather than a live action ad shot in a studio. This is thanks to the reduced crew (there’s no need for make-up artists, cameramen, gaffers, lights, actors, make-up artists, catering, wardrobe, studio cost etc.) and the fact that, if there are mistakes in the footage, or a client changes its mind about the content, it’s easier and cheaper to edit an animated ad, than to reshoot one.
On the same lines, you can produce a number of different renderings of the same animation, changing coloring, style and other features, for a fraction of the price of re-producing a live action shoot. For example, if a company comes out with multiple flavors/colors/carbonated vs non-carbonated drinks to be showcased. In the long run they are looking at a more cost effective approaching going the 3D/CG route.
3. Some marketing strategies are almost entirely exclusive to animation advertising.
Beverage businesses can make use of the features which are only available to those who choose to use animation in their marketing strategy. Perhaps the most popular, and arguably the most effective, example of this is the creation of lovable company mascots. These usually take the form of a cute, often fluffy, animal which endears the viewer to the company.
By (let’s face it) exploiting viewers’ hormones and emotions with a lovable brand mascot, you will always increase sales (if it’s done well). Perhaps the most successful example of this is the incorporation of meerkats into the marketing strategy of the UK-based price comparison site Compare the Market. Beyond simply drawing business to the site, the Compare the Market meerkats are a profitable empire in their own right, making millions each year from meerkat merchandise. Some examples of beverage brands employing this advertising tactic include the Nesquik bunny, the Coca Cola polar bears, not to mention Coca Cola Happiness Factory, and the Kool-Aid man.
4. Animation will whoop your static ad's ass.
On average, ads which contain some kind of animation, in contrast to a simple, static photo ad, get almost 5 times the clicks- the statistic speaks for itself. In most cases, a higher click rate leads to a higher rate of lead conversion; this is due to the eye-catching nature of animation — movements on the screen will draw the eye of potential leads.
So, whilst there are a number of ways in which animation can be used to further your beverage business via innovative advertising, animation can also be beneficial to beverage businesses in the production process, before the release of the product.
5. 3D is used for previz purposes.
3D workflows allows beverage companies to view their product from any angle; behind, below, above etc, to ensure that the design is right from every perspective. Modeling can also be used to test how it will stand (and if it will stand), roll and any other possible test that you can think to conduct on your beverage product.
6. Designs can be edited an unlimited amount of times before and after launch.
If a company finds that, when they look at the 3D model of their beverage product, there’s something they’re unhappy with, they can easily have these things changed and edited, cheaply. This means that money isn’t wasted on producing packaging, since the likelihood of the product being ‘right’ first time is much higher if it’s been 3D-modelled first.
So, if you own, work for, or are on the marketing team of a beverage company, and you’re on the fence about whether or not to take the plunge and employ an animation team, take some time to think about whether it’s the right move for your company. But, if you do decide to ‘go animated’, get ready to reap the rewards with the boost you’ll give your marketing strategy and production process.
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The video content embedded in this post was not produced neither does it belong to Blacksmith Co. Inc and has been included as reference and for demonstration purposes only.
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