Last updated on 20th September 2023
Animation has a way of capturing attention and engaging viewers like no other medium can.
Whether it’s the humorous antics of an anthropomorphised animal or the surreal visuals of an otherworldly landscape, animation has the power to transport viewers to another world and capture their imagination like no other medium.
And that’s why brands love using animated ads to reach and engage a wider audience.
But what do the best animated video ads actually look like? In this article we’ll showcase 30 of the best! creative type million strong downloads car industry icy summer beverage beautiful visuals only limit free consultation new customers audience’s mind
Why use animated videos as ads?
Animated videos are the perfect way to bring your ideas to life. You can create any type of character, living in any type of world, and control every element of what appears on screen. You can even illustrate and visualise products that don’t exist yet, or things that are completely invisible.
With animated videos, the sky is the limit. You can create truly unique and engaging content that will capture your audience’s attention and keep them coming back for more.
30 of the best animated commercial videos
The possibilities are endless when it comes to animated advertising videos. With a near infinite combination of music, illustration styles, voiceovers, and more, you can evoke the exact emotion you want from your audience and drive them to take action. As you’re thinking about your next (or perhaps first) animated ad, take a look at the best animated video ads examples we’ve included below to inspire your brainstorm.
1. Keyword Magic Tool (Semrush)
When you have a tool called ‘Keyword Magic’ there’s really only one place to go with your character based marketing: a wizard!
This hugely impressive and fun animated video ad for Semrush crams a huge amount of detail AND entertainment into a measly 23 seconds.
This is definitely an animated demo with a difference. Yes, it shows depictions of how the app itself works – but the genius is how the app is being controlled and manipulated by our wizard character.
From the beautiful typography at the beginning, to the highly creative and amusing character animations, this example really goes to show that demonstrating the inner workings of an app or website doesn’t need to be boring!
2. Project Sunroof (Google)
Google’s “Project Sunroof” video proves animated video is perfect for telling even the most complex stories. With this video, Google launched their new initiative to integrate solar power generation estimates with Google Maps to tell homeowners how much they could save if they switched from traditional electricity to solar power. The idea is undoubtedly complex, yet Google tells the story simply and concisely in less than two minutes. Clearly we aren’t the only viewers who found the video to be effective; this animated commercial earned more than 2 million views, and Project Sunroof is now live across the United States.
3. Follow Your Dreams (Seneca)
Seneca’s “Follow Your Dreams” video has a lot going for it: a fine-tuned script, seamless motion graphics, and a unique illustration style. But our favourite aspect of this animated video is how clearly it relates to the college’s target audience and communicates its unique value proposition. This video very specifically addresses its viewers – people who have college credits and a high school diploma but no college degree – and their problem – not knowing what to do next. The solution: Seneca College. When scripting your commercial video, consider using this problem-solution approach to ensure your message resonates with your viewers.
4. Stories of Better (Toyota)
In preparation for the biennial Paris Motor Show, one of the largest automotive events in the world, Toyota told the story of their brand in “Stories for Better,” a beautiful video that leverages intricate paper models and visionary brand messaging to build value for the entire Toyota brand. Rather than promoting a single make or model, this video told the story of their entire suite of vehicles, each optimised to be the best in its category. They weave their brand promise – a commitment to excellence – into a promotional video that deviates from the traditional, salesy car commercial and focuses on value. Toyota went on to feature this video on a large LED screen at their Motor Show booth to showcase their suite of vehicles to the show’s 1,000,000+ attendees.
5. In Pursuit of Greatness (Wimbledon)
As much a history of video styles as it is a history of tennis, this iconic animated ad for Wimbledon celebrates this globally revered sport and the pursuit of greatness that history’s tennis icons have undertaken. But what we love most about this commercial is what it doesn’t have. This voiceover-free commercial video is a risky move. After all, voiceover is a great way to gain the attention of your viewers, and if you don’t use it, you risk losing their interest. But this risk was worth the reward. The powerful music-only backdrop created a goosebumps-worth energy that has us watching this video on repeat.
6. Mindfulness (Apple)
With so much conversation about the unhealthy nature of too much screen time, Apple needed to do a little proactive PR to uphold its brand value. When the company added mindfulness features to their Health app, they also launched this video – a simple, short story that promotes the power of adding a few moments of stillness to your daily life. Not only did this commercial promote their new app feature, but it further solidified Apple’s position as leaders in all things lifestyle.
7. Freebies (Harvey Nichols)
Harvey Nichols took a comedic approach to launching their rewards program. This video uses goofy superimposed caricatures to hide the identities of people shoplifting in their stores. Leveraging actual footage from their security feed, this video undoubtedly has a low production cost with a high return on investment. Cute, quirky, and endlessly creative, this video demonstrates that a great commercial doesn’t have to be complicated.
8. Be Together. Not The Same (Android)
A phone commercial without a single phone in sight? If you think it’s risky, you’d be right. But in this case, the risk was well worth the reward. Android used this commercial to join social conversation about bullying and build brand affinity. Their video inspires courage, compassion and connection, and builds value for this global brand along the way.
9. Say Hello (Headspace)
Headspace proves that sometimes the best animated videos are also the simplest. Their straightforward commercial video explains how their app works and the value it adds to their consumers, and ends with a clear call to action to download the app. We’re especially impressed by their thoughtful sound design, which adds little moments of delight during the viewer experience. Not to mention the beautiful, cartoon animation style. With more than 11 million views and currently a #5 spot in the Health and Fitness category in the Apple store, Headspace is clearly doing something right.
10. Imagine What You Could Do (American Express)
Who knew credit card commercial videos could be so fun? This video by American Express dispels the myth that every career opportunity at the credit card company is focused on financial services, telling the story of their less traditional, more innovative positions to strum up employment interest. This video proves that commercial videos aren’t only for increasing sales or launching products; they can help support any type of business initiative, like recruitment and other internal endeavours. This video is part of a bigger series that includes features on careers in technology, big data, and social media. All in all, the series earned more than 37,000 views on YouTube – not too shabby for a recruitment campaign.
11. The Bear and the Hare (John Lewis)
A department store has never been as heartwarming as John Lewis was during the 2013 holiday season. The retailer’s animated short, “The Bear and the Hare,” tells an uplifting story about gift giving, effortlessly promoting their brand at the end of the spot. The original video, which leveraged the popularity of its featured artist Lily Allen, earned well over 16 million views on John Lewis’ official YouTube account; even more impressive is that the custom track recorded for the spot earned more than 33 million listens on YouTube alone – a big win for a company that invested in hiring a world famous artist for a single commercial video.
12. Anti Harassment PSA (Time’s Up)
Time’s Up’s PSA adds some levity to a heavy subject: workplace harassment. This 3-minute video answers some common questions about what constitutes inappropriate behaviour at work and what doesn’t. Narrated by Donald Glover and Rashida Jones, Time’s Up’s video takes a sensitive subject and makes it simple for anyone and everyone. A great use of video for a great cause – we give this video two thumbs up.
13. Gold (American Express)
American Express earns another spot on our list for an animated ad promoting the benefits of their Amex Gold card. This video, which American Express promoted on social media, features an uplifting track, 70s-style color palette, and playful illustration style to creatively tell the story of their premium credit card’s benefits. Our favourite aspect of this video is how each scene gracefully transitions into the next, showing the true power of animation to do something that would be impossible with live video. All in all, this video is the gold standard for animated videos.
14. Wonderfilled (Oreo)
Capitalising on the popularity of an emerging electronic artist, Oreo commissioned Owl City to write and record a custom track for their “Wonderfilled” television commercial. The brand accompanied the light and uplifting song with equally playful animation to craft a video as delightful as this world-famous cookie. Whimsical, wonderful, and wonderfilled, this commercial no doubt deserves a spot on our list.
15. Way Better (Clover)
Take a trip to an imaginary land with Clover’s “Way Better” commercial, a Willy Wonka-esque video that tells the story of their creamy, dreamy spread. This super creative approach to promoting a common grocery item proves that commercial videos are without limits. The approach certainly worked for Clover, who won the award for best animated television commercial at the INFOCOM EME Awards and the first place award for television and visual effects in the Mobius Awards.
16. Join Skirmish (Skirmish.io)
Skirmish is a platform that matches game developers other professionals in the gaming space with employers. Their commercial video is a great example of how important it is that all your video’s elements work cohesively. Take notice of how the sci-fi animation style, cinematic music, and deep voice over work together to create an intentional energy. As you think about your commercial video, consider what type of energy you want to create, and select elements that collectively support that vibe.
17. Turning Point (Don’t Fail Idaho)
Commercial videos aren’t just for for-profit businesses; they’re a great tool for nonprofit organisations too. This video by Don’t Fail Idaho is a great example of how community and nonprofit institutions can use video to reach their strategic goals. Their commercial draws in viewers and presents the problem using compelling statistics we can’t ignore, coupling them with beautiful graphics to keep viewers engaged throughout the entire video. If you’re a nonprofit working on a fundraising or awareness campaign, consider producing an animated commercial video like Don’t Fail Idaho’s; it might be just what you need to reach your goals.
18. NoseFrida (Fridababy)
Fridababy shows how product launch videos are done with their “NoseFrida” commercial video. This seamless narrative starts by introducing a common problem, and walks viewers through the solution, effortlessly overcoming several predictable concerns viewers might have with the product. It’s storytelling at its finest, and in less than two minutes.
19. Grr (Honda)
This video is not only one of our favourite Honda commercials, but it’s one of our favourite automotive commercials of all time. Why? Because Honda makes diesel engines fun. That’s right. This 90-second commercial video, made for television and cinema, features a custom song, bright and fun animation, and an overall unprecedented optimistic vibe not often seen in the automotive industry. And we’re not the only ones who think so. The “Grr” video went on to win the Film Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious honours in the advertising industry, and was selected by Adweek as the best commercial of the decade.
20. A Big Idea (Smart Fortwo)
When Smart Fortwo launched their two-seater miniature car, they needed a commercial video that would set them apart from the competition and communicate the unique values of their brand. Their “A Big Idea” multi-video campaign did just that. Each video in this three-part series communicates a distinct value or attribute about the product, and leverages a memorable visual style that blends simple illustration layered on top of real-world footage. We also love how each video targets a different demographic – a couple in love, an expressive individual, a curious car shopper – with a unique message but the same underlying tone, proving a single concept can be adapted for a broad target audience.
21. Mr. Krabs (Envestnet)
Every now and then, a campaign comes along that really makes you smile: and this is one of them!
Fintech company Envestnet turned to an unlikely source to help them market their flagship advisory platform: a certain Mr Eugene H. Krabs of Spongebob Squarepants fame.
They also created a scrollable demo which imagines how Mr Krabs would use the platform to manage his finances in a range of different scenarios.
This serves two purposes. One, it gives potential users a solid idea of how the software tool really works. Two, it adds a layer of fun and engagement that a generic example almost certainly wouldn’t.
And it’s another reminder, as we often say, that B2B needn’t mean ‘boring 2 boring!’
22. Everyone’s Journey (UK Department for Transport)
It’s not every day you admire a piece of marketing put together by the government! But this campaign from the UK Department for Transport, designed to make transport more inclusive, captured our imagination.
It uses animation to depict simple, every day transport scenarios, encouraging simple acts of kindness to make the experience better for everybody.
The use of animation means these scenarios can be put across in a way that’s perhaps less patronising and corny than live action might be.
23. Whey Forward (MyProtein)
‘Fermented, not farmed:’ it’s probably not a line that’s going to capture the public imagination in the way that ‘Shaken, not stirred’ did!
But this seriously beautiful animated video from MyProtein does a great job of getting across a product-based point-of-difference: protein powder that delivers the same benefits as regular whey, but without cows!
As is often the case with animation, it’s not just what the video DOES say – but what it doesn’t need to.
The fun, colourful, playful style says it all about a brand that’s modern, youthful, forward-thinking and aspirational – and, in a highly competitive marketplace – different!
24. Abu Dhabi Showcase (Tripadvisor)
It’s sometimes said that every business simply represents a ‘change’ – from state A to state B.
Most companies’ marketing strategies are clear about what that change is.
But for whatever reason, they tend to be much less clear about how that change is achieved.
Maybe we could call it ‘secret sauce’ syndrome. People are reluctant to share their methods because they don’t want others to copy or steal them, which ultimately is pure human nature.
But sharing the specifics – showing your working – is actually a great way to put real flesh on the bones of what you’re offering.
Here’s a wonderful example of a business using animated video to ‘show their working.’
It would be the easiest thing in the world for TripAdvisor to say:
‘Abu Dhabi kept themselves top of mind as a holiday destination by partnering with TripAdvisor.’
But by creating content that actually goes through explicitly what that partnership involved, what was achieved and how it was done makes a MUCH more compelling case for similar use cases.
It’s also a genuinely beautiful video that tells a great story with text on screen, beautiful animation, a striking colour palette and some really nice animated transitions.
But the ultimate takeaway here? To really cut through with success stories, share that secret sauce.
Give away information, share your methods, talk about how you’ve helped your clients and you’ll find:
a) it’s a powerful way to encourage others to let you help them.
b) it demonstrates confidence – others CAN’T copy you, because you simply do what you do better than the other guys.
25. Good Clothes, Fair Pay (Fashion Revolution)
We talk a lot about animated video as a tool to achieve business results: reach more people, sell more stuff, delight our customers.
But what about its power for doing good in the world? Raising awareness of injustice – and mobilising people to take action?
This example is a short film created by Anna Ginsburg, called ‘Good Clothes, Fair Pay.’ The aim? Not to sell a service, demonstrate a software tool or showcase a product, but to generate 1 million signatures on a petition that will push for legislation forcing companies to ensure the living wage is paid throughout their supply chains.
It also does a great job, as animation so often does, of helping the viewer actually visualise the core issue. As Ms Ginsburg says, “We are all so detached from so many processes behind the things we consume.” In 33 seconds we see the sweeping beauty of the clothes being worn…
…through to the poverty of those making them…
26. A.I. Ketchup (Heinz)
As marketers, we’re often reminded how important it is to keep an eye on trends.
But how many trends do we miss, or dismiss, because they just don’t seem all that relevant to our niche?
For example, maybe you spotted the recent trend of AI drawing tools (exemplified by tools like Dall-e mini). Dall-e mini is an AI model that uses machine learning to generate an image based on any prompt. It’s seriously impressive stuff!
How does that trend, though, relate to tomato ketchup?
The geniuses at Heinz saw a link and created this video.
The message is simple: when people think ‘ketchup’ they think of Heinz’ iconic bottle and branding. The AI emphatically proves it.
So what’s the point of this campaign? Well, it lets Heinz tap into the cultural zeitgeist and say something timely and relevant – while also reinforcing a key brand pillar: history and tradition that’s established them as THE brand in their field.
27. Sage Real Voices (Sage)
Authenticity: we all know it’s a key part of marketing.
In a Wyzowl survey, we found that 9 out of 10 people say they trust what a customer says about a business more than what that business says about itself.
This is why testimonial videos are increasingly popular: the idea of giving a voice to your customers makes your content highly relatable to other, potential customers, who are just like them.
It was interesting to see a slight variation of this approach taken by Sage in a recent TV and online ad campaign.
This really is a bit of a hybrid. It features the authentic voice of a Sage user – Joanne Halsall, Head of Finance at a hotel – but with a playful animated/live action hybrid which is a key pillar of Sage’s design style.
Interestingly, rather than say something complimentary about Sage, Joanne instead expresses a viewpoint on challenges in business.
A professional voiceover track then swoops in for the second part of the video to explain how Sage is there to support Joanne and people like her.
In doing so, Sage gives the platform to its users, sending a not-so-subtle message. To paraphrase… ‘We understand the lives and challenges of our users and we’re here to help.’
This example also reminds us how animation can help brighten up a video – while still using the powerful words of your customers and users – as opposed to a simple ‘talking head.’
28. Bones Lager (Beavertown Brewery)
Here in the UK, beer is big business.
The craft beer industry is worth more than £1bn, with growth of 15%+ forecast this year alone.
And like in any crowded, competitive market, that creates a challenge for both new and existing brands: how do you stand out?
As self-confessed branding nerds we’re fascinated by the way brand identity can create this competitive edge.
Take Beavertown for example.
They’ve committed to building a quirky, irreverent brand that’s insanely colourful compared to more established brands.
This is evident from their animated ads, through to their physical products…
While each can is different, there’s a uniform branding style based around similar colours, typefaces and irreverent wording with cool product names like ‘Neck Oil’ and ‘Gamma Ray’.
The brand is also reflected in the artwork you see at the pump, and on Beavertown branded glasses, where it really stands out when positioned next to more ‘traditional’ options…
For us this is the essence of brand recall, and how it can work in an omnichannel world.
From seeing a cool, colourful animated video absolutely loaded with charisma – to seeing that very same identity in physical form, ready for you to pour, hold and consume.
And it’s a no-brainer: which are you more likely to give a try when you’re ordering a drink? The vanilla-looking one that’s the same as all the other – or the mega-colourful one that stands out like a sore thumb, which you saw on a ridiculously cool animated ad recently?
29. Calm the Chaos (IMODIUM)
We often talk about animation being able to visualise basically anything.
So, in that spirit, here’s an example that visualises something as unthinkable as it gets.
Yes, folks, we’ve finally reached that point: we’re talking about diarrhoea .
But bear with us here, because this new campaign for Imodium is genius in its simplicity.
It’s just 10 seconds long. But in that measly time period…
- It establishes swirls and scribbles as a sensitive, but evocative – and relatable – visual metaphor for the ‘chaos’ of diarrhoea.
- It shows the main character taking an Imodium Instants pill.
- With a shift in the colour palette from dark, night-time colours, to daytime, clouds and bright colours, we see another visual metaphor for ‘calming the chaos’ which is the strapline for the whole campaign.
- This is all underpinned by a voiceover that reinforces the core message in just 30 seconds.
30. Pet-Friendly Staycations (Marriot Bonvoy)
Picture the scene: you’ve got a new feature or benefit to shout about.
Success depends on getting your audience enthused and excited.
It’s about inspiring them to understand what you’re offering – and how it’ll make them feel.
How many words do you need to achieve this?
500? 200? 100? What about…3?
This video demonstrating Marriot Bonvoy’s ‘pet-friendly staycations’ shows us the idyllic world in which we can take our furry friends with us on holiday. No T&C’s, no small print. Just the broad strokes of a more perfect world.
And what could be more exciting than that?!
Get started with animated commercials
As you set out to make an animated video as awesome as the inspiration we included above, be sure to consider the things that separate the best animated ads examples from the rest:
- Create a unified, purposeful tone: Video’s primary benefit over nearly all other forms of media is its ability to create an emotional connection with a viewer. Be intentional about selecting your voice over, animation style, and background music to evoke the right emotion from your audience.
- Tell a compelling story: Video is all about storytelling. Remember not to focus too much on pushing product, and instead tell the story of your brand. That approach will always resonate with your viewers much more than an overly salesly message.
- Learn more about animated videos: The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to animated commercials. Don’t go it alone. Before you kick off your commercial video project, learn more about how to create great animated videos today.