15 Powerful Animated Commercials (& How They Nailed It)
In a world of endless creative possibilities, animated commercials have the potential to pique curiosity in your target audience, in the most innovative way. With the swift rise in technology, your imagination is truly the only limit.
To show you what we mean, we’ve got for you a curated list of 15 of the best-animated commercials. Along with that, we’ll also see:
- How do they implement an idea?
- Why do they work?
- What key points can you take home with you?
By the time you’re done, you’ll have a solid understanding of what perfect execution in animated commercials can lead to.
Pinky promise 🤘
But before we go into that, let’s answer a few basic questions.
What is Commercial Video?
A commercial video is a teaser that aims to grab attention and generate excitement about a product, service or brand. It is what you see on television and social media (YouTube ads, Facebook ads, etc.), and is ideally less than 60 seconds.
Commercial videos have the potential to reach a very wide audience through targeted ad campaigns, greatly increasing brand awareness in the process.
They are ideal for introducing a new product or service into the market, while still offering minimal information to maintain customer curiosity.
As a highly engaging form of media, commercial videos help in increasing sales by grabbing customer attention and convincing them to make a purchase.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s finally jump into what you came here for.
List of Best Animated Commercials
Every one of the commercials we’ll look at is different in its own way, and it’s that unique element in each that makes it a perfect animated commercial.
Sherwin-Williams: Where will color take you?
“Our worlds of color chips are about inspiring you with the possibilities for your home.”
For a company with an objective such as that, what better way to show color than by combining it with the vibrancy of nature.
As part of their ‘Color Chips’ campaign, this commercial was created by McKinney along with Buck Studios. It took 30,000 paint chips, 24 production artists and 5,600 hours of effort to come up with this 3D animated TV commercial.
And the result? A vibrant African jungle safari that oozes color and beauty.
If you’re a big fan of The Lion King film, this cartoon commercial will feel right at home.
Smooth transitions, brilliant animation, and the perfect soundtrack to match the background have all come together to create an absolutely breath-taking commercial.
Every color comes in various shades. The combination of the color chips to create the animals and the ecosystem of the African jungles prove that Sherwin-Williams offers an entire spectrum of colors.
There’s no surprise this commercial currently has a viewer count of over 930K views on YouTube.
Key Takeaway: This advertisement is a perfect example of how creativity can work wonders to a concept that normally wouldn’t catch much attention – in this case, paint. If your product falls along the same lines, think about that one relatable element you can use to complement it – in this case, nature.
Slack - Traffic
We can’t talk about cartoon advertisements without mentioning Slack.
Slack helps teams communicate better. We can vouch for that because we use it and we absolutely love it. But what we also love about them are their videos, all just as creative and brilliant.
This particular cartoon ad titled Traffic is a cute and funny animation that does the same.
The 3D animation style is fast-paced, with every character giving the viewer a little laugh, thanks to their cartoonish language and actions that are sure to remind you of the Minions.
And if you notice carefully, you’ll see that the only colors used throughout the video are the ones on the Slack logo. Just the four!
The designer really knows his stuff!
“All kinds of people, all kinds of things. Use Slack to do amazing things.”
The real deal here is the characters’ use of Slack to communicate from one point of a highway to one person in an office and eventually to an entire factory. And all that easy communication finally leads to the creation of the first flying car!
The storyline isn’t something out of the box but the way it’s been integrated with the design, animations, music and overall concept makes all the difference.
Key Takeaway: When it comes to your own advert, think of ways in which you can make your own rendition of well-known characters or concepts, and create a comical story around it (such as the Minion-like characters Slack has used).
MasterCard: By The Numbers
Almost everyone across the world uses MasterCard today. You probably have one in your wallet right now!
For something as vast and obvious as this, MasterCard’s purpose of this video is to showcase the impact they’ve made on this world. And they did so intelligently by combining two crucial criteria - numbers and technology.
They make it clear by starting off with powerful stats that are bound to mind blow you, followed by the multitude of places they’re used in. From the comfort of your home to food takeaways to transportation services to cross-border transactions - you name it, they’ve shown it.
Coming to this video’s visuals and animation, you have to admit it’s brilliant.
Simplicity is key here, and that’s beautifully implemented in their color scheme. The primary colors in this video are the ones used in their logo - the red, yellow and orange.
The best part about this video is the multiple characters. MasterCard is used by everyone, regardless of nationality, and that’s cleverly shown with the way that every character illustration is very generic.
And of course, the transitions are as smooth as the cards they make.
And let’s not forget the jolly music and chirpy voiceover that add essence to the video without disturbing the flow of the video.
It’s truly one of the best 2D animated ads out there.
Key Takeaway: When brainstorming ideas for your advert, think about the impact your product or service has, or will make, on the world, and how best you can show it. That is something people will definitely relate to because they’re a part of it, and the more it relates, the more they remember.
Oreo - Wonderfilled
Released in May 2013, this colorful campaign by Oreo called “Wonderfilled” was created to celebrate the gift of sharing. Though we already love the cookies themselves, this cartoon advert will make you fall in love with their creative team too.
I absolutely love this video for two main reasons.
First, the song. Regardless of who you may be, you must admit the song immediately roots you in your seat when it starts. This infectiously catchy song was performed by Adam Young, aka, Owl City because his style of music “embodies optimism and carefree nature.”
And if you’ve listened to his songs, you’ll know that’s a fact.
Second, the concept. It’s cute and simple.
Can sharing an Oreo transform even the most feared beasts into friends.
Like wondering if the Big Bad Wolf would help the Three Pigs build a house instead of harming them. Or if a vampire would switch to milk instead of blood. Or if a shark would share its cookies with baby seals.
It’s all based on stories we’re familiar with but retold in a fun and catchy way.
Oddly enough, this commercial was always intended to be for the adults. As the people at Oreo themselves said, "Wonderfilled captures the universal human feeling that kids are naturally so good at, yet adults need to be reminded of: a sense of wonder in the world."
This animated advertising video currently has a massive view count of over 5.6 million views!
Key Takeaway: We’ve all heard stories as kids and we’ll always be excited to hear them again, years after. If you think you can create a sense of nostalgia around your product, use it in your advert. These memories won’t hurt, don’t worry.
Android: Be Together. Not the Same
Google’s mobile OS Android launched this animated ad titled ‘Be Together, Not the Same’ during the 2016 Academy Awards, which is one among a series of ads.
Possibly the best-animated advertisement of the lot, this cute commercial is my personal favorite. It depicts a group of three young, troubled characters - rock, paper, and scissors. Yes, and it’s exactly what you think it is.
Set to John Parr’s epic eighties hit ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’, this is not your average rock-paper-scissors story. Despite their sworn enmity, the three come together to stand up for each other against bullying, becoming friends in the process.
Scissor helps paper. And paper helps rock. By the end, the three of them walk into the distance, with the words “Be Together. Not The Same” in the sky above.
It all comes together as an adorable video that sends a wave of positivity with their powerful, inspirational message.
Key Takeaway: You don’t always have to directly address your product in the advert. Using social causes to educate and inspire people in your narrative is bound to pull the right strings, making your brand feel more human.
Wimbledon: In Pursuit of Greatness
Celebrating the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament, this commercial for Wimbledon is truly a take on history.
This animated commercial launched in 2018 shows the evolution of Wimbledon as a single continuous tennis rally beginning in 1877.
By creating character illustrations of real tennis legends, starting with Spencer Gore and ending with Serena Williams, it takes you through a complete journey.
Owing to its long history, every generation can relate to the video. You’re bound to know at least one of the legends portrayed. Your grandpa is bound to recognize at least one of them. Your great-great…you get the point.
With the tennis ball as the main focus, the animator intelligently used it to create smooth transitions as every new era is depicted, modernizing the illustrations along the way.
And the background music is undoubtedly chilling. It’s the best part of the video. They took a risk by not using a voiceover at all, but thanks to the epic music, they smashed it (no pun intended).
I got goosebumps watching it solely because of the track, and I barely follow tennis!
Key Takeaway: If you can integrate relatable illustrations and emotionally connecting music flawlessly such as the one above, you’ll see that there’s no need for a voiceover.
Nespresso on Ice: You’re Just A Sip Away
Created by Finnish designer Pietari Posti in 2017, Nespresso on Ice is a beautiful 30-second commercial that couldn’t have sold its idea in a better way.
The video smoothly takes you around a Mediterranean themed setting as a journey of a holidaying woman. From a cliff-side infinity pool to a beautiful bay, to a private yacht, you’re completely immersed in the experience.
All three scenarios are connected by one factor - the clinking of a glass of ice coffee in the summer, conveying that the drink is perfect for every occasion.
The animation style is minimal yet beautifully crafted to give life to Posti’s solid illustrations, setting the mood for a lovely summer holiday.
The soundtrack is upbeat, while still maintaining the relaxing vibe of being on a vacation.
The element I really loved is the sound effects. Birds chirping, leaves rustling, waves lapping, and of course, the sound of ice clinking alongside the glass - what a way to use the melodies of nature.
This video is the perfect example of how you can convey so much more even without a voiceover. All you need is the right music to set the tone.
And what do they finish the video off with? The enticing phrase “You’re just a sip away.”
The video commercial currently has over 170K views on YouTube.
Key Takeaway: You don’t always need to use a voiceover to deliver an experience. Sometimes all it takes is a clever combination of illustrations, music and sound effects to do so.
Swiggy: The Fastest Food Delivery in Tow
This no-nonsense food delivery app from India really delivered with their no-nonsense animated commercial.
It is very direct, taking on 3D animation to convey the message. But the most interesting part is how they’ve depicted the service.
It’s hard to miss the structure of the roads in which the mascot is traveling on. They feel like a race circuit on steroids, absolutely chaotic and disordered, with swirls and unrealistic humps.
And if you’ve ever been to India, you’ll know that’s pretty much what Indian roads are like.
The point of this animation style is to depict the kind of conditions that Swiggy’s ‘Hunger Saviors’ have to go through every day, taking the disorganized roads and traffic into consideration. And despite those, delivery is swift.
Complimenting the set-up is an energetic background track and a powerful voiceover that has a sense of urgency. It really adds to the phrase “Fastest Food Delivery in Town”.
Every element has effortlessly come together in this 30-second action-packed video, making it one of the best animated 3D commercial.
Key Takeaway: If your product has a USP that you know for sure will sell it, focus on that feature and create a narrative around it. Sometimes, elaborating on that one feature is all you need for an effective commercial.
Airbnb: Cycling Experiences
When Airbnb wanted to launch its cycling experiences and inspire viewers to get into it, they came up with this clever 90-second commercial.
Once you start the video, you’ll immediately notice they haven’t used the traditional approach of ‘What it is’ or ‘How it works’. Instead, they completely rely on statistics to do the job.
Why did this method work?
The video didn’t scream out ‘You HAVE to try it!’ They used stats to very simply showcase how big experience this actually is, highlighting the number of experiences and guests who’ve taken part.
This works because it gives the viewer a choice that might typically go from “Woah that’s a lot of people. It must be great,” to “Maybe I should try it too?”
Stats are always understood better when shown than heard, justifying the lack of a voiceover in this video. To go well with it are the illustrations that are used, highlighting all the important numbers to really make it stand out.
I personally liked the illustrations of the countries that are mentioned, which happen right after every stat, adding context to each of them.
The way it’s transitioned is smooth too, making the entire video feel like a cycling journey from start to finish.
Key Takeaway: In some cases, stats can gain attention better and provide more impact than explanation, such as the case above. When your brand has enough numbers to flaunt, think about how you can use the stats to create the oomph you want.
Petco - Saving Up (Holiday Tails)
Holiday commercials, especially around Christmas, have become quite a phenomenon, thanks to John Lewis and their undeniably heartfelt adverts.
With many brands competing to beat their standards, many have come close, and many far from near. This commercial by Petco launched in 2018 is one of those that came close.
It shares the story of a little boy who’s saving up to buy a new bicycle. To his surprise, his parents gift him the bicycle. So what does he do with the money now? He goes to the nearest pet store and adopts a three-legged dog.
Their bond is instantaneous, to the extent that the boy even sacrifices his new bicycle to help the dog walk. All for his puppy’s happiness.
Now, I’m calling you heartless if this doesn’t move you. This warming commercial is bound to put a smile on your face because of both the story and the animation.
With beautiful backdrops and music that scream Christmas, this stop motion commercial ends on one powerful and emotional message: “Giving feels good, especially when it does good.”
As of today, this video has over 8 million views on YouTube! Dayum!
Key Takeaway: As mentioned above, if you can tug on human emotion, there’s nothing like it, especially during the holiday season when love is suddenly in the air. Use the magic we create during those times of the year to emotionally glue them to your advertisement.
Mailchimp: Outgrow Your Name
Mailchimp, in early 2019, had completely rebranded their logo and design format to simple yet peculiar hand-drawn sketches.
“With this redesign, we set out to retain all the weird, lovable elements that endeared our earliest customers to Mailchimp, while creating space for the brand to grow and connect with even more small businesses.”
As part of the rebranding, this animated brand video was created with those sketches, and it’s interestingly evident here.
It’s just 30 seconds long and uses the bare minimum of graphics (all hand-drawn sketches) to deliver their message, while cleverly applying visual metaphors - like the towering Big Foot to indicate growth.
This video is literally a teaser, drawing on curiosity with the chirpy voiceover explaining very little, but effectively. It prompts you to research them if you want to know more.
It’s accompanied by sound effects that are apt for the scene in the video.
Key Takeaway: It’s always a good idea to get viewers curious. It urges them to want to know more when done right. By delivering the bare minimum in the most creative way, people will be very interested in you if you look promising enough. After all, commercials are made to tease.
Whatsapp: End-to-End Encryption
I use Whatsapp. You use Whatsapp. We all use Whatsapp. And I’m sure at some point, we’ve wondered if the messages we send are just between the two of us - be it personal or personnel.
Well, Whatsapp thought about it too and in April 2016, they launched their end-to-end encryption to ensure all our messages remain private and secure. Yay!
This animated commercial was made to announce just that. With a short and sweet story of a stranded person sending her location to a loved one to get her without the risk of others getting access to it, they got their point across.
And of all the scenarios they could’ve used to show the use of encrypted and private chats, I found this particular one beautiful.
This is a situation that can happen to anyone at any time in our lives, but it sure isn’t what you’d want to get into. Yet, to be able to reach our loved ones in a situation like this but in a safe and private way is something we as people would love. Whatsapp has shared that emotion here.
This animated commercial has a whopping 6 million+ views on YouTube.
Key Takeaway: Human emotion is very powerful. If your product allows you to portray that, use it. You and I can both agree that people relate and retain better when they’re emotionally connected to something.
Shaktimat: An Age-old Healing Technique Redefined
This animated advert gets your attention immediately with a question you’d probably never hear in your life again.
“Would you believe that a bed of nails could help you sleep?” Obviously, you want to know more.
The ShaktiMat is a bed of nails that activates various pressure points in the body in the form of a massage.
There aren’t many ways that can be made interesting. So how did this stand out?
The unique artistic style. It all feels like a painting, which actually goes well with the idea, considering it’s an age-old technique redefined.
Inspired by the roots of Indian medicine, the graphics depict that culture with the traditional yet modern vibe.
The animation style is simple and relaxing, almost lazy if I may so - just what you want from a video about acupuncture.
A soothing voiceover is also added, explaining the product and its features, clearly highlighting the benefits.
Shaktimat used this eye-catching ad for their social media ad campaigns, and unsurprisingly, it helped boost their sales by a large margin.
Key Takeaway: If your product has a strong cultural root, see how you can use that to emphasize and connect with your viewers. Human beings are after all molded by culture, making this an especially effective tool.
In a world of constant deadlines, pressure and basically no time for yourself, stress management is considered a super-power today.
While Coachademy helps professionals in resolving such career-related issues, how can they effectively deliver their message?
They came up with this simple yet message friendly 2D animated commercial.
The video starts off by addressing scenarios that are very relatable to most people. The need to find the perfect job, wanting time for yourself and so on and so forth.
What I really loved about this video is its duality - it can serve as a commercial and as an explainer video! Everything you need to know about the app is explained perfectly with the charming voiceover.
The other thing that caught my eye are the character illustrations. Like the MasterCard ad, the characters in this video are generalised in their design. As a motivational video, this seemed to be a wonderful way to get everyone to relate to them.
The range of solid illustrations and colors used in this commercial is very eye-catching, with sleek transitions between scenes, ensuring a constant vibe throughout.
To maintain the positivity is the upbeat soundtrack that compliments the video very well.
Key Takeaway: Focusing on highly relatable content like everyday life or the issues we all face is a great way to get viewers to engage. Take user pain points and show them how you will be beneficial and they’re bound to love you!
Dropbox: Campus Cup
Dropbox, in September 2015, launched its second Campus Cup, a competition that allows university students and faculties around the world the chance to rally together to earn Dropbox space.
The reason this video on the Campus Cup is on the list is that it’s the perfect example of using relatability to capture attention.
They have one audience in mind - students. Second, the content in the video is very relatable to them.
Cleverly starting off the video is a section where they mention everything a student would probably be doing in a semester - writing, playing, experimenting, etc.
And as a student, you’re thinking, “Okay, you have my attention”, solely because you all relate to it.
Next, they tell you just what a student needs and how to go about it - storage space and Dropbox. And as a student, you’re interested!
Then there’s the matter of earning up to 25Gb of space for your school. And as a student, you’re now wondering if it’s Christmas yet!
Every single point in this video is something that students across the world can relate to. They’ve hit the right spot to catch their attention, and delivered in the neatest way possible. Nothing more, nothing less.
With smart use of simple icons and graphics, a jolly soundtrack, and voiceover, this video is just what a student will be excited to watch.
Key Takeaway: This animated video starts off with scenarios that are relatable on a day-to-day basis. If you can create a narrative using routine or everyday life, go for it. This familiarity will resonate better with them.
And we’re done!
After breaking down 15 of the best-animated commercials, you and I can both agree that animation has a whole universe of creative possibilities to explore. Your only gatekeeper is the walls of your imagination.
Of course, it doesn’t stop with that. A compelling story, well-thought illustrations and designs, and the right voiceover and music all are part of the blueprint. It takes the right combination of all these to make a perfect animated commercial.
We hope this article has helped you spark your creative flame for your very own animated advert. It’s time for you to spread your mind and experiment.
Which of the above video commercials really stole your heart?
Do you think we missed out on any important pointers?
Do let us know in the comments.
And if you’re looking to make an animated commercial, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to bring your ideas to life.
Animated commercials, when executed perfectly, can propel brand advertising with the same quality and results as live-action commercials, if not more.