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Why Is Stop-Motion So Popular?

Ben Dubois Jun 30, 2021 Scroll to read in 5 minutes

I’ve had the pleasure of working here at A+C now for almost 10 months, showcasing what we do here to some of the best agencies in the world. There’s always the usual questions… “how much does it cost”, “how long does it take”, but the one question I never expected to hear so often is “why is stop-motion still so popular”? Obviously I love stop-motion, you’ve got to believe in it to sell it, but the question of why I, and so many others like me like stop-motion deserves some thought. 

Let’s start with stop-motion itself. What is it?

Moving miniature puppets and objects painstakingly over long periods of time, all with the aim of bringing inanimate objects to life… that’s stop-motion. But why on earth do people go through the rigmarole? Especially when filmmaking technology has advanced so much over the past 130 or so years. It would be easy to try and reduce the reasons why to a few basic points, but it’s actually far more interesting than that. With screens everywhere from in your pocket to the escalators on the tube, more video content is being consumed than ever before. Here’s our take on why stop-motion is still so popular.

The Magic of Stop-Motion

Popular stop motion Trivago greenscreen

There’s no denying, stop-motion just feels special. Even those not necessarily familiar with the process pick up on the level of craft that goes into each project. In a world where even a child and a smartphone can deep fake Obama doing a Fortnite dance, there’s simply no shortcut to crafting beautiful stop-motion. Tiny hands, miniature clothes and sets as complex as any Hollywood backlot - all moulded, stitched, glued, sanded, soldered and painted. It’s this love and attention to detail that creates the illusion of magic. 

We Love Stop-Motion

At A+C we’ve got a 5,000 square ft production studio dedicated to the art of stop-frame animation. With over 150 commercial productions to our name we’ve animated everything from full scale living rooms for TK Maxx, down to individual salt granules for the Premier League. Each and every project is united by its ability to inspire, wow, and captivate audiences around the globe.

Marketing

Popular stop motion Harrods Mice

When faced with a seemingly endless appetite for video content, we need to spare a thought for those in marketing. With more content being produced than ever before, it becomes a challenge to stand out amongst the noise. Nobody wakes up in the morning excited for all the adverts they are about to consume that day. That’s the battle, how do you make people remember you? Or make content people want to watch? The answer is obvious… by making something that’s actually beautiful. No gimmicks, just craftsmanship that inspires. That’s how you sit in someone's mind as they are drifting off to sleep. 

Nostalgia

Postman Pat 010

Think back to your first experiences of television. If you were born in the past 50 years the chances are your first experiences with moving images are stop-motion. Whether that be The Clangers, Postman Pat, or Kiri and Lou, stop-motion has been a part of childhood that doesn’t seem to be going away. Often when showcasing our work, words such as “authentic”, and “wholesome” are thrown about. With those feelings being almost innate to stop-motion, it’s no surprise the medium is used to captivate children at their earliest stages in development.

This sense of nostalgia becomes even more noticeable when you consider just how long some characters have been around. Morph for example has been able to exist in very much the same way since his creation back in 1977. Compare this to a character like Lara Croft, who has evolved from a handful of polygons, 280 to be exact, all the way to a whopping 32,000. For early fans of the franchise, there’s very little resemblance to the original character they fell in love with. In the world of stop-motion animation, nostalgia bombs are dropped on the daily when you witness your favourite characters looking as good as ever 50 years down the line!

If you think the power of nostalgia isn’t real, the world of vinyl records would like to have a word with you. Nostalgia isn’t slowing down any time soon. 

Lara Croft Old vs New

Storytelling

Popular stop motion British Airways set

Perhaps the least talked about reason for stop-motions popularity is the power to tell stories. With infinite possibilities for character design, material choice, set/location options, it’s easy to see why story-tellers fall in love with it. A chicken made out of felt, an even robot warlord constructed of wood, if you can dream it, it can be crafted or sculpted.

Humans are tactile creatures, and the sense of touch can often be ignored. Paper, wood, Plasticine, fabric, plastic, all are very relatable materials and what better way to build a connection with the audience than appealing to the sense of touch. It’s what makes it authentic and so universal. A Plasticine Morph translates across all ages and even across cultures.

Versatility

It can often be hard to work around certain topics in a captivating and meaningful way. Take for example pharma advertisements, by their very nature a fact based and perhaps quite a serious script. The benefit stop-motion brings is the ability to reel in the audience, no matter what the topic. A great example would be our Cannes Lions shortlisted project Redefine Heamophilia, a pretty tough topic to discuss for many. Insert a claymation peach and aubergine and it becomes light-hearted, completely removing any social taboo from the subject. Whether it’s mice telling a Christmas story, or dancing sofas, the only limit is your creative imagination.

To hear more about stop-motion why not read our predictions for stop-motion trends in 2021 HERE.