Animation in Political Campaigning

Fox Hambly

Video Production Manager

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Last week Greenpeace released a 3D animated video focused on the UKs export of plastics to other countries. The video has a sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek tone but delivers a powerful and thought-provoking message.

Animations allow campaigns to convey messages and stories that would not be possible through talking head interviews or other live action filming. They can demonstrate visual metaphors that can not be captured in real life, such as filling the whole of Downing Street with plastic rubbish.

The use of animation in campaigning is well established. We can go all the way back to 1952 to see the impact of the still alarmingly catchy “Ike for President” campaign video. The song is doing a lot of the heavy lifting in this video and is importantly what a viewer takes away from the experience, however the animation supports the song and helps draw a link between the fictional character Uncle Sam and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

A good UK stop motion animation example is the Green Party 2010 election broadcast. This animation was featured during the 2010 general election and included different coloured blocks animating on a plain background. The video works well to convey a script that would be incredibly complicated to show with live action. By turning political metaphors such as “move a little to the right/left” into the movement of the blocks in the animation this video translates political phrases into a great visual metaphor.

Animations are typically a staple of social and environmental change issues, an example of this which was highly successful was Iceland’s Christmas advert Say hello to Rang-tan which is focused on the destruction of the rainforest for palm oil. This video disguises itself as story for children, before hitting hard with its message. This wonderfully animated video, combines 2D animation and 3D elements such as the bulldozer. It’s worth mentioning the video’s popularity may also be linked to its banning on TV, which lead to it going viral online.

Animation tools and tech continue to become faster and more accessible. This makes 2D/3D animation a more affordable option for campaigns to create powerful imagery to support their work. PLMR’s own video team recently supported the Airtight on Asbestos campaign by producing a 3D animation video focused on the risks asbestos poses to children and teachers. It’s also worth mentioning that the prevalence of motion graphics, text elements, and animated infographics is also vital to political and social campaigns on social media where grabbing and holding a viewer’s attention is so vital. If you have an issue or campaign, you would like supported with animation or on social media, please do get in touch.

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