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The Character Effect

How Character Shorts will Change Advertising

There is a growing focus on character development IP for brands and games vs the standard outreach methods blogs, ads, email, and on most notably commercials. People's emotional attachment to a character can drive clicks and conversion at higher rates while increasing the possibility of viral content. Developing reels and character shorts creates the opportunity to address seasonal events, holidays and leverage content created as GIFs to increase public presence. Advertisements have a chance to enter the realm of content permanency and embed themselves in culture.

According to a Bloomberg report in November of 2021, GenZ had an estimated ~360 Billion in spending power, a report from SnapChat Business estimated their spending power had grown to ~450 Billion in 2023. As their spending power grows it isn't a coincidence to see brands investing in animated and anime based advertisement strategies. We have also seen recent changes to Google ad policy allowing the advertisement of crypto ETFs, and Coinbase consistently improving global commerce options. Combined these have the potential to reshape the demographics of spending power and dramatically shift the way we think about advertising and engagement.

Almost two-thirds of the anime-watching Gen Z audience say they emotionally connect better with anime than they do with traditional media due to the types of storylines and characters present- Polygon

Animation allows for the testing of multiple themes, styles, settings and formats while providing valuable data. Ultimately animation allows for a creative narrative that is likely to foster a deeper emotional connection with audiences. For brands, game studios, or even upcoming films, character based accounts are a clear way to cater towards a growing consumer base. How many brands could you see benefiting from having a consistent character like MeetQuack from Atrium Animation? How would you see Bored Ape Yacht Club if Curtis was regularly coming across your feed? A short animated anthology of Stranger Things ahead of a release? M&Ms could completely replace their ads with character content. An Azuki series of animated clips and reels bringing the world to life. Looking at what Claynosaurz have done is a great example of a team that is leveraging their strengths. Looking at doodles, they saw a need and purchased Goldenwolf to have in house animation that has resulted in a tailored social profile rooted in character. Nike has historically done an exceptional job with narrative based advertisements, but with the growing accessibility of animation, more brands will be looking to capture similar emotional sentiment.

Smaller animation studios are rising in prominence as major studios are locked into large budget animations. Feature length films are able to be made with the help of growing technology, a decentralized studio team, and focusing on consistent content to grow an audience while a film is built in public. Be sure to follow updates at for an example of what is possible. An animation studio offers consistency and allows for a marketing team to have a cadence to plan campaigns. A studio with the familiarity of "meme culture" is likely to provide added value. Animated content often can become part of internet culture, an ad or reel that becomes a meme can benefit from "evergreen" proliferation. This type of long term engagement and connection is harder to achieve without animation. A MeetQuack reel recently broke into the top 20 reels of all time, what brand, business or project wouldn’t want that type of exposure?

Brands that embrace a consistent character content model for socials and marketing will benefit from increased data points over a standard single commercial. Animated marketing content can help identify trends in consumer engagement allowing brands to tailor their strategies during key seasonal peaks. Posting twice a week for a year would allow you to generate data on preferred holidays, settings, with over 100 chances to have content become a viral ad. Most ads feel new once and then suffer from an effect of diminishing returns. I believe we are on the cusp of a large shift in advertising as AR / VR become common, and animation will be at the forefront. 

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