As an animation company that works mostly in advertising, stop-motion commercials hold a special place in our hearts.
An animation being an advertisement doesn’t mean it can’t have a story to tell. The properties of stop-frame animation make it great for comedy and some ads feel more like sketch shows than selling a product! At our animation studio, we banded together to come up with a list of animated ads we wish we’d made. You may remember some of them, but we hope we can show a few that you won’t have seen before!
1. Sony Bravia – Rabbits
Kicking off with this beautiful advert for Sony. Combining both stop-motion and timelapse footage, the ad takes place in the heart of New York City and shows off a group of rabbits travelling through the streets, morphing and changing into abstract shapes. What is most striking about this advert is seeing the general public interacting and observing these larger than life models. Quite a magical and colourful advert that’s definitely worth checking out.
2. John Lewis – The Bear and the Hare
A truly special ad and one that when released was probably the most striking thing on the telly that Christmas. The Bear and the Hare was produced for John Lewis, a brand with a reputation for creating some of the best Christmas adverts over the last decade. This one did not disappoint. Every character in the film was meticulously animated in 2D, after which each frame was cut out and animated with stop-motion on a full forest set. The effect is quite striking. This combined with the beautiful soundtrack from singer Lily Allen makes for a fantastic advertisement that really puts you in the Christmas spirit.
3. Honda – Paper
Time for some paper-craft animation now! This Honda advert from 2015 was made by PES, an animated hero of ours. It incorporates every type of paper you can think of – from blueprints to tracing paper in order to achieve this fully paper made animation. Although a lot of the elements of this advert are 2D, much like the last advert each one is put onto individual sheets of paper and animated frame by frame. What really gives this ad that stop-frame, handmade feel is the addition of hands! They are vital to this ad and show the process of holding and folding every piece of paper.
4. Xbox – Xbox Clay
The release of the Xbox 360 paved the way for this amazing Claymation advert, showing off some movie tie-in games available on the system. The morphing and mouldable nature of Plasticine is shown off in full throughout – all being animated and interacting with a human character (Pixilation animation). The link between animator and animation is perfectly shown throughout, with some fantastic models thrown in for good measure.
5. California Raisins meet Michael Jackson
If you said that dancing raisins singing Heard It Through The Grapevine would ever be a thing, we probably wouldn’t have believed you. If you then said that Michael Jackson would then sing with said raisins we’d say that’s crazy – and yet here it is. This continuation of the California Raisins brand came to new heights when the king of pop himself lent his voice and likeness to one of the raisins. With great choreography and staging throughout, this is a truly strange and yet amazing animated advert.
6. Peperami Ads
No adverts had more chaotic energy than the Peperami adverts of the early 2000s. Each one centres around the cartoon personification of a Peperami who either eats himself, rips himself apart or goes nuts in some shape or form. The energetic voice acting is provided by Adrian Edmonson of Bottom and The Young Ones fame. This combined with some very cartoony and energetic animation make these adverts a joy to watch.
7. Lurpak Butter Man ads
An oldie now that started out in the mid-1980s. The Lurpak man was a staple of butter adverts for quite a while and this can partly be attributed to his lively animation and fun design. This is one of the early creations from Aardman Animations, famous for their work on Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit.
8. Levi Jeans – Boombastic
Manages to fit an entire action set-piece into a minute-long advert with claymation is quite a feat. It was pulled off masterfully in this short Levi Jeans ad from the late 1990s. Maintaining a very tongue in cheek attitude throughout, the film simply follows an action hero as he saves a woman from a burning building, all to the backing track of Shaggy’s Boombastic. Completely over the top and hilarious, this ad really makes you appreciate what a good pair of jeans can do.
9. Heat Electric – Creature Comforts
Taking the format of Creature Comforts and transferring it to an advert format was a stroke of genius for the crew at Aardman Animations. The fact that they used one of their most popular characters to advertise this heating brand is a bonus as well. Using the same interview style and comedy that made the show what it was, this ad is the perfect testimonial for a heating company from one of the busiest tortoises on television. The ad boasts creative animation as is expected from Aardman, as well as staying true to the show’s roots.
10. Cravendale ads
Finishing off with a set of product animations that became super popular in the mid-2000s. Based on the style and characters from the Belgian film A Town Called Panic, each ad follows a cyclist, a pirate and a cow as they travel around, fighting over Cravendale milk. Each ad brings the same amount of energy and creativity that the film had, remaining funny through each of the gang’s adventures in finding milk. The unique miniature style of the animation also makes it stand out amongst the other adverts that were being shown at the time.
We feel that there is so much potential for comedy and storytelling in advertising, and stop-motion is the perfect way to bring these short ideas to life. If you want to check out some of our other recommendation lists, why not check out our Top 10 stop-motion short films and our list of 10 stop-motion animated Music Videos!