Explainer Video

Pick Of The Week: Hi5 (Explainer Video)

Blake Harris 07.26.2016

When hiring personnel, we’re all looking for superheroes. But as most of us have learned from experience (as well as a decade of Marvel movies!) superheroes don’t always get along. Getting talented employees to collaborate can often be a challenge. But as we’ll see in our PICK OF THE WEEK—an explainer video for Hi5, a brand that assists companies conduct co-worker reviews—there might now be some effective solutions to help solve this problem.


This explainer was produced by 3rdfloor, a video production company based in Cape Town, South Africa. Founded by Steve McDonald and Warren Willmott, 3rdfloor specializes in 2D Animation, 3D Animation and Stopframe Animation to create broadcast-quality explainer videos, short films and motion infographics. Tapping into that skill set, 3rdfloor utilizes their character animation skills to create this fun, fast-paced explainer for Hi5:

Cleverly Connectable

Character animation is often a great approach for creating an explainer video. It’s a way to transform abstract concepts or faceless entities into something more relatable that can function in a narrative. The danger, however, with a character-driven approach is that when it comes to depicting a negative behavior—as is the case with this explainer—there’s often a temptation for viewers to mentally distance themselves from the characters. In other words: viewers may not want to see themselves represented in these characters.

Which is why it’s very clever that the conflicting characters in this video are represented by these guys; a pair of characters most of us have always dreamed about being…



These larger-than-life characters are then grounded to resemble something much more like ourselves as they are pitted together in their greatest foe to date: an office environment!



As a result of this clever setup, viewers are engaged, entertained and invested in the explainer within the first fifteen seconds.

Memorable Moments (Leveraged by Humor)

Good explainer videos effectively tell a story. Great explainer videos effectively tell a story that will stick with the viewer. And one way this can be accomplished is by crafting memorable moments that stick with the viewer even after he or she is finished watching the video.

These moments act almost like postcards; snapshots from a different place whose image evokes feelings about the memory. And this explainer is chock full of them. Below are a few of our favorites:

Batman yearning to fly…


Superman’s reaction to kryptonite…


And this shot of outstretched superhero arms looking at their mobile phones…


Successfully Positions Hi5 as Solution

With all the fun that Batman, Superman and the rest of the gang bring to this video, it can be tempting for viewers to become more interested in the heroes than in problem/solution this explainer is meant depict. But 3rdfloor doesn’t allow that fate to come to pass. Instead, with well paced precision, they relate the action on screen to the over-arching (and relatable problem) and then re-focus the viewer’s attention on the potential solution: Hi5.

This is accomplished in two ways. The first through on-screen segues and references to the Hi5 brand. Like this:




The other through re-connecting the viewer to the ongoing narrative:





Blake Harris

Blake Harris is the author of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation."
Blake Harris

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