The Effectiveness of Animation in Tv Commercials

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Bryant & May were the first British company to utilize animation for advertising purposes. In 1899 animator Arthur Melbourne-Cooper was hired to produce a stop-motion short in which matchstick men move along a ladder and paint an appeal on a wall. This appeal read `For one guinea Messrs Bryant & May will forward a case containing sufficient to supply a box of matches to each man in a battalion with the name of the sender inside.'(www.bfi.co.uk) It is easy to be cynically dismissive of what is obviously a clever, if extremely crude, ad campaign disguised as a patriotic act of charity during the Boer war. However it is not as easy to be as dismissive of the extent to which animation has been adopted from these humble beginnings as a prevailing force within modern advertising strategy. The 22nd September 1955 gave birth to commercial television broadcasting in the United Kingdom. Right from the outset advertisers where quick to seize upon the opportunity and advertising possibilities that animation put in front of them. During these early years up to a third of television advertising was animated such as the “Murray Mints, the too-good-to-hurry mints,” or Snap, Crackle an Pop,” for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies which both debut in 1955. The Kellogg ads brought to life hand drawn characters that had been used on the packaging of cereal boxes since 1928 and the campaign still runs to this day. The Murray Mints commercial, which featured soldiers in bearskin hats march in time to a jingle, won best ad of the year in the inaugural year of British television advertising. (Robinson, 2000, p35) J Walter Thompson who had handled the Guinness account since 1929 set about bringing to life; through the process of animation, the extremely popular Gilroy posters that had become an institution and started a ‘Guinness culture.’ If advertisers were keen to use animators in their campaigns then animators where certainly keen to encourage receive the work. The two industries formed a symbiosis which was characterised by the overnight emergence of a whole new market in the advertising industry meant that there were a lot of new opportunities for young animators to set up new companies with the minimum of capital and experiment with new techniques. Companies such as biographic which was set up by Bob Godfrey who produced ads for various companies such as Shipams fish paste and Nestle. (Threadgould, 2005) The use of animation in commercials certainly proved popular with advertisers, and with home viewers but it was the “Homepride flour men” who proved that it could also be an effective tool. The “Homepride flour men” ad debut in 1965. The ad featured two men in black business suits and bowler hats standing in between two packets of flour. A sieve is placed over the head of one of the men and flour poured into it. The processes is repeated with Homepride flour which sieves much quicker as it is graded and the second man is instantly covered in flour turning his black suit white. The reason is explained by the man in the hat; voiced by Dads Army star John Le Mesurier; and his words produced the slogan ‘GRADED GRAINS MAKE FINER FLOURS.’ The campaign succeeded in making Homepride a market leader within four months. These characters became so popular that a leader (Fred) was named by the advertising brains to give a name to the uniform faces. Merchandise such as aprons, peppermills, fridge magnets and various other kitchenalias were produced as ‘collectors’ items. Fred’s image spurned a whole range of sub products for the company and it is still used to sell a variety of Homepride products today. To keep up with changing times made retain a sense of tradition; various comedians such as Richard Briers and Paul Merton have voiced Fred, he is today voiced by Nick Frost from Spaced. Homepride have managed to infuse their brand identity with that of Fred, their iconic mascot. They have used his effigy on other products such as sauces and kitchen utensils to place...
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