7 Great Animated Charity Commercials

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The world seems to be staggering from one crisis to another these days. Charities are under increasing pressure to stop people suffering from 'crisis fatigue' as they rely heavily on private donations as their lifeblood to keep operating and providing their crucial services. As yet another of these current crises is the 'cost of living', people's disposable income is being hit hard too. As a result, charities are battling to have their voice heard and cutting through the noise is even tougher than ever.

Charities need ways to get their message out to the public that is fast and compelling. Videos have always been a good way of doing this and with the easy shareability factor of social media, can reach large numbers of people and be cost-effective.

Animated charity videos are popular as they can be creative and eye-catching and still deliver the message in a clear and direct way.

In this blog we'll look at some of the best animated charity videos but first we'll examine some of the key qualities that a charity video should contain.

Important Elements of a Charity Video

FOCUS

The message in the video needs to be concise and laser-focussed on the central issue. It might be tempting to highlight other connected issues as well but this is likely to confuse the viewer, diffusing the impact of the message.

PROBLEM AND SOLUTION

Similar to the rules of commercials, charity videos should also follow a basic structure for maximum impact. They need to create a narrative flow and start the film by highlighting the problem and then offering a solution. By doing this, the viewer is better able to understand what the problem is, why it is important and how they can help in a meaningful way. Creating awareness is a vital aim of a video.

EMOTION

People are more likely to part with their hard-earned cash or be inspired into action if they care about the issue being highlighted. To do this, it's important to create an emotional connection between the viewer and the subject. This can be achieved with a strong story in the film, an issue that people can relate to on a personal level and a message that resonates with the audience.

LOOK AT ME!

In the on-going battle for getting people's ever-shortening attention-span, don't be afraid to use anything that will help to make people notice. An image that shocks us or a fact that surprises us is a powerful tool and so should be used boldly for maximum impact. The CTA Although the goal of a charity video is often simply raising awareness, the most important part of the video is the Call to Action - usually in the form of a request for donations or to get involved in the cause in some way. This request needs to be visible and clear. As it is usually at the end of the video, it's also crucial that the rest of the video is compelling so that the viewer watches the whole video till the end. A video should always contain a link to a website, a phone or email contact or an embedded ‘share this video’ link.

1. Everything is Not Awesome

Environmental charity Greenpeace is renowned for creating some of the best and most hard-hitting videos out there. Their uncompromising attitude has a massive global outreach and influence. They are also committed to helping young and emerging animators by giving out commissions to support them.

Hot on the heels of the box-office success of the Lego Movie and its awesome hit song, Greenpeace wanted to raise awareness for Lego's association with Shell and the energy multinational's dodgy environmental record.

The film was shot in a similar animated style but with a distinctly downbeat mood and a melancholy version of the original song.

The video was a huge success.  Millions of people watched the video and made their voices heard to Lego who promptly cancelled their association with the greenwashing giants.

2. Unicef | Malak and the Boat

In 2016, Unicef launched a stunning series of short animated films called Un-Fairy Tales, highlighting the plight of child refugees and migrants in war-torn Syria.

Each of the three films uses a different style of animation to tell the heart-wrenching true stories of Syrian children who had made dangerous journeys. These dark fairy tales aimed to foster a more positive perception and attitude to the issue by putting human faces to the tragedy.

With a similar humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine, expect something similar from Unicef soon.

3. Plastic Change - Fin City

A strong concept and beautiful animation from 2nd year animation students helped make this video for Danish environmental group Plastic Change really stand out. Using a Film Noir style, it tells the story of a jaded fish detective trying to solve the mystery of a gruesome series of aquatic murders. The aim was to highlight how plastic was killing marine life. The CTA is in the final frame, telling the viewer that they themselves have the power to solve this case.

4. St John Ambulance - The Chokeables

St John Ambulance, a volunteer-led health and first aid charity, created this video to raise awareness about the dangers of babies choking on household objects. As well as this, they managed to squeeze in practical advice on how to deal with a choking baby into the 40 second running time. The final CTA asks viewers to share the video and it worked with 8 million online views and 200,000 facebook shares. More than that, 45 people got in touch with St John Ambulance, saying watching the video had enabled them to save a baby. The 3-d animation uses tone and humour well for a serious subject.

5. The Girl Effect

The Girl Effect is an independent NGO, created by the Nike Foundation with the goal of ending poverty globally through supporting and empowering girls.

This strong graphic design-based animation uses only kinetic typography to deliver its message and it's surprisingly effective. The simple, bold text drives the narrative along to deliver a simple, bold message.

Read the Youtube comments section to see the impact it has on people.

6. Alzheimer’s Society UK

Christmas is a time of giving so combining a charity video with a Christmas theme makes good sense as it taps into the feeling of goodwill and generosity that Christmas evokes. Using a festive red and green colour palette and plenty of Yuletide imagery to make it relatable, this charming 2-D animation is like a little Christmas fairy tale. It's an uplifting story, suggesting there is hope for this disease but only with the help of your donation for continued research.

Don't be a scrooge, be like Freya.

7. Domov bez zamku (Home without a Castle)

And finally here's a video created by Motionhouse for the charity Domov bez zamku which supports people with intellectual disabilities and proves they can live a normal life.  

This film was made for free as a not-for-profit project as we found it personally interesting and wanted to support the goals of the organisation.

Production companies will often help charity videos with their services with reduced fees rather than charging normal commercial rates, so it's worth getting in touch with one and beginning a conversation if you are creating one.

Conclusion

Charity videos are a crucial way of raising money and raising awareness for important issues. Internet and social media has made it easier than ever for a message to have an immediate global outreach and impact.

They are also a great way for young animators and filmmakers to cut their teeth in the industry as people and companies are often willing to provide their services for free or reduced rates and so budgets can be kept down.

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