60 Seconds – Chapter Eleven

Chapter Eleven: Every Picture Tells a Story


When it comes to visuals and animation, one challenge we often have with a client, especially a new client, is that we’re creative production team and they’re businesspeople, and at times, it’s almost like we’re speaking two different languages. So while we’re talking about brain science and why we need to keep the video simple, they may be more focused on including lots of details about the product or service, rather than thinking like we do about a key aspect of the video that’s leading the eye and how much information we’re asking the viewer to digest or process.

Switch is always focused on really simple illustrations because if you’re doing crazy 3-D animations, you’re filling the working memory with information that isn’t necessary to communicate the basic story. Yes, animators can show how technically skilled they are, but if the visuals don’t help the person watching the video grasp and retain what it is the company does, then the images are not of value.

On one project we were working on, our designer felt the best way to lead the eye was to use warm colors. They’re very simple and our eyes are just attracted to them. But the client came back and said “No, everything needs to be masculine. Most of our clients will be men. We need this to be much darker.” So we also have to balance the client’s feedback with the brain science side of it.

There’s another effective creative dynamic we’ve discovered. When we’re using humor in the visual, we’ll work from a straighter script and if we’re using a lot of humor in the script, we’ll deliver a straighter visual. That means we’re giving the viewer options and delivering key information in a different ways at the same time. With humor (and we like to employ a little wit whenever possible), most people are open to at least a light touch, but we also don’t want to lose the ones who either don’t really get it or simply want to know the facts.

When you’re doing this process on your own internally, it’s almost like a closed loop, no matter how creative you think you’re being. So we have to get feedback not only from our clients, but their customers, people on the street, even your friends and family. Just tell people your story and see the kind of feedback they give.

Of course, the feedback will vary from different audiences, depending on people’s budgets, backgrounds, experiences, and prior knowledge (as well as where they live). But it’s very important to determine which feedback will help improve your client’s story, so focus on the verticals and demographics that are most likely to use their products or services and use language specific to those verticals. You want feedback from people who are similar to your past clients or likely to be future clients, because those are the ones that your story needs to resonate with.

Americans viewed 9.6 billion video ads in July, representing another month of record video ad views.


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