A Brief History of Whiteboard Animation

If we look around it is now quite evident what a huge role the animated video is having in the communication processes.

So how about taking a quick step back in time and trying to discover its roots? Don’t worry: it will be a short trip but full of interesting ideas.

In order to identify the first time that this tool has been used as a means of propaganda for a company, we need to go back to 2007. In an advertisement by UPS, an American company of international shipping, the technique called “Whiteboard Animation” made its appearance for the first time.

UPS, the first promotional whiteboard

A whiteboard, a drawing that slowly comes to life, a narrator, and a hand that “creates” images.

Behind this simple ingenious idea is Andy Azula, a Miami advertiser who will become quite famous as a result of this spot.

It is the beginning of the great success of a new and powerful channel of communication. From the United States to Europe, in the ten years that followed, this innovative method begins its rampant development path, arriving a few years ago in Italy (with the usual “slight” delay that often distinguishes us when we talk about marketing and innovation).

If you already read the articles of our blog, you will certainly have already discovered the many reasons that make an animated video such a valuable tool.

However, it owes much of its effectiveness to the years of glory of the cartoon industry, which began in the early 1900s. From the first sketched sequences of the French Fantasmagorie in 1908, which is considered the first cartoon in history, the evolution of animation will live moments of great fame: Walt Disney, Hanna-Barbera and Pixar are the three names that more than any other have marked the incredible rise of this world of fantasy and narration.

From cartoons to animated video

What are, after all, the elements that have remained relevant over the years? What are the ingredients for the success of this mean of telling stories? If you think that cartoon storytelling is something interesting only for children, you’re very wrong. The simplicity of the narrative, in fact, is precisely the added value that has led the videos to become so important in marketing strategies. What is hidden behind this wonderful instrument?

1. Using outlines, stylized drawings and simple images makes your content easy to understand, no matter what type of user is viewing your videos.

2. Writing a linear narrative (temporal, theme and points development etc.) helps people not to lose track of the subject.

3. Choosing a suitable music to accompany the whole story (or the main points in the case of long stories) eases the understanding and development of emotions.

4. Relying on professional actors who can give the right tone to the voice-over will increase the trust of the videos as well as their clarity.

These elements, which you can clearly recognize in every quality animated video, find their roots in over a century of evolution in the world of cartoons. Think for a moment: if even a child could understand a video about your company, wouldn’t you have perhaps the certainty that it could be clear to anyone?

Obviously, this is a deliberately extreme reflection: in order to be really effective, the video animations must be sewed up on a very precise reference target, object of an accurate study.

Video Marketing Target People

What remains undisputed, however, is the fact that the cartoons sent a clear and distinct message to the video marketing professionals who came out later: simplicity, combined with the ability to arouse emotions, is the ideal match to ensure exceptional results. And, above all, impossible to forget.

If you want to create content that is able to describe your business projects with intensity and effectiveness, video animations are certainly the most innovative solution. Tell us about your goals and your target audience, and we’ll take care of the rest.