Why animated web video? Brain science, cost effectiveness, and reach

Posted by bryanzug - 2011/02/12

Why is an animated web video such an effective way for a company to “explain what the hell [they] actually do“?

Three reasons – Brain science, cost effectiveness, and reach.

Brain Science

In his book “Brain Rules” developmental molecular biologist John Medina breaks it down like this:

“Vision trumps all other senses.”

When you tell a story visually people remember it because human beings are creatures driven by sight. As Medina notes, recognition and recall soar when information is communicated visually.

Animation in particular gives us the ability to use kinetic illustrations to to crop out noise and focus the eye of the human mind on a very specific story.

As comic book artist Scott McCloud noted in his phenomenal TED talk, illustrations are very different from photographic images (such as video shot with a camera).

Illustrations tap into a deep iconic universal form of communication that is deeply embedded in the human brain.

Illustrations illuminate things.

And as they shed their light, as they spread their lumens – clarity, recognition, and recall all become increasingly possible.

Cost Effectiveness

Two important points on the cost effectiveness of animation.

Drawings are cheaper than photos

Some folks think animation is more expensive than shooting video with a camera. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A talented team can always draw sets and objects more cheaply than they can build, collect, and light them.

Interesting ideas and transitions that could never exist in the real world can be drawn quickly to illustrate problems and solutions.

A cheap crash course on attention scarcity, with a prize at the end!

Short web videos, in particular, also offer another important function.

They force you to keep things simple and clear.

Because you can’t detail everything about a product, service, or concept in a few minutes, the script writing process forces a focus on only the most important things.

The cold reality is that web sites have siren songed us into the illusion that more is better.

Add another link, another bullet point. Tell them about that other feature. Make sure to put it all on the home page.

While the web may be infinite, the stark reality is that attention is not.

Short web videos force us to wrestle with the fact that attention is the only non-renewable resource of the information age.

Forcing your team through the process of distilling your message down to its essence is one of the most important activities any organization can do.

And when you do it while creating a web video, you have a great artifact at the end of the process.


The beauty of these videos is that they can go places no one in your organization ever will.

Those champions of your message inside that company you want to do business with can show them to the decisions makers you will never meet.

That fan of yours can pass it on to their friend who’s never herd of you but who could use exactly what you’ve got.

These videos allow your champions and fans to pass your story along wherever it needs to go – all in a form that is consistent, kinetic, and compelling.

How cool is that?

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