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How Animated Campaign Video Moves Voters To Act

The new political campaign season is upon us. That means campaign managers are looking for ways to help their candidates stand out. At the same time, citizens and organizations want to share the facts about politically relevant issues. Animated campaign video may be the solution both groups have been looking for. 

Don Sipple, President of Sipple Strategic Communications has crafted dozens of successful campaigns over the years. “I do a lot of ballot measure campaigns—animation in my view, facilitates simplifying substance in a visually interesting way,” Sipple said. 

To put that another way, whether your campaign is promoting a candidate for office or educating voters on a vital issue, animated videos can help you make your point. 

Disclaimer: The videos linked below are useful examples of animated videos for political campaigns. The views and opinions expressed are those of the advertisers and do not necessarily reflect the views of IdeaRocket, its staff, or the writer. 

Techniques In Animated Campaign Video

Sipple isn’t the only marketer who believes in the power of animated campaign videos. 

As it turns out, politics and advocacy groups have been using animation for decades. Consider this Eisenhower for president ad from 1952.  

Dated as this ad might appear to the modern eye, it’s also warm and eye-catching. The jingle sticks in your mind and the simple 2-D animation style would have been familiar to voters at the time. 

Animated elements have become a standard part of the campaign advertising toolbox. The example below is a standard negative ad. It shows black and white photos of an opponent coupled with intense music and quotes from candidates and news sources. 

This composite style combines live action clips with animated elements to drive home a point. Without the flashing arrows and moving backgrounds, this ad would be much less effective. 

Whiteboard animation is another common technique for political advertisements. Sipple said he likes whiteboard animation because it’s visually interesting, quick and inexpensive. Here is a video IdeaRocket produced for Sipple’s firm on behalf of Prop 52, a California Ballot Measure that won approval.

Notice how the simplified color palette and symbolic images help viewers follow the key message: Prop52 has broad support. This animated campaign video manages to use social proof without including any live actors. 

Why Cast Your Ballot for Animation

As Sipple mentioned, animation excels at making complex topics easy to understand. For example, the video below on Congressional Communities introduces voters to a community-based model that might be new to them. 

The simple animation in this video strips out unnecessary details that might lead to distractions. You can’t tell the race, age, or socio-economic status of the characters in this cartoon. That can be useful for a message like this because the topic applies to everyone. The animated character acts as a placeholder. Any viewer can imagine themselves in that place. 

With animated campaign video you can: 

  • Illustrate complicated ideas
  • Liven up a dry topic
  • Engage your audience
  • Remove distractions
  • Appeal to multiple voting demographics equally

Animated ads are also relatively quick to produce—in some cases, no more than a couple of days. That means you can respond to breaking news or quickly adjust your messaging to meet new challenges. 

Animated Campaign Videos Fit the Trends

As the public adjusts its idea of what a candidate can look like, it’s also adjusting its idea of what campaign ads are. In the last election cycle, pandemic shutdowns pushed more candidates and causes to move their political campaigns online. But the trend toward digital-first political campaigns was already well underway.

Many candidates are relying on less formal, more personal videos to propel their campaigns. These videos spread online and sometimes even go viral. 

“Digital has shrunk everything….window of opportunity; time window; and screen,” Sipple said. “You now have 10 or 15 seconds to get the job done.”

Candidates, political action committees, and other third party groups are all relying on the power of animated campaign video. 

In this 15-second spot IdeaRocket produced endorsing Luz Rivas for Assembly, we use a drawing of the candidate in place of actual footage of her. This avoids a complex video shoot or the need for stock footage. Instead, we create a warm, personal advertisement using animation. 

Animated Video Might Engender Greater Trust

In a world where generative AI has evolved faster than regulation can hope to match, animated campaign videos might even seem more trustworthy than live action. 

So far this election cycle, at least one SuperPac has used an AI generated voice to read Tweets by a political candidate. Yes, the candidate made the post. No, they did not ever speak those words out loud.

Another group used AI to create a vision of what the future might look like if a particular candidate won the election. The video was produced entirely by AI, yet the result looked like real photographs and live-action video clips. 

Against this backdrop, the honesty of animation might be refreshing. Viewers can know that what they’re seeing was created by an artist. They can focus on the message and the story the ad is telling, rather than worrying about unraveling what’s real from what is AI generated.

Tips for Creating Animated Campaign Videos

These tips will help you create engaging and effective animated campaign videos that support your campaign goals. 

  • Choose an animation style that matches your message. Animation can be bright and colorful, dark and brooding, serious, silly and anything in between. Choose a style that enhances your message. If you’re not sure how to do this, your design team can help you decide.
  • Keep it short and simple. A short video will hold viewer attention more easily than a long one. In this case, short means less than 60 seconds.
  • Avoid self-centered advertising. One big mistake that some political campaigns make is focusing on the ego of the candidate instead of the orientation and interests of the viewer, Sipple said. As with any advertisement, an audience-centered approach works best.
  • Give it character. They don’t have to be completely true to life, but every video should include a character the audience can relate to. As noted in the congressional communities example, ambiguous characters can sometimes be more compelling than a lifelike representation of a real person.
  • Don’t rely on sound. A stirring soundtrack can increase the emotional impact of a video, but keep in mind that many online viewers watch videos without sound. Make sure the intent of your video is clear even if the sound is off.
  • Distribute it everywhere. A TV commercial is just one way to use your animated video. But don’t stop there. Get your message out by sharing on social media, emailing your constituents, posting to YouTube or other video sites, and adding it to your website or blog.

Animation is a flexible, customizable, and relatable solution for political campaigns. Think creatively to give your candidate some character or illustrate your issue with animated campaign videos. IdeaRocket can help. Contact us to get started. 

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