Rule for Creating Motion Graphics Commercials

The #1 Rule to Remember When Creating Commercials with Motion Graphics

In May 1, 2014

When using motion graphics to create a television commercial, the #1 rule in the ad business still applies. Great advertising depends on great ideas. That’s the way it’s always been. That’s the way it will always be. Yet, every now and then an ad fad pops onto the marcom landscape that leaves the craft’s most talented practitioners scratching their heads. In the 80s, it was the music video commercial—a couple days’ worth of seemingly random footage cut to a toe-tapping soundtrack. Voila, you had yourself a commercial.

Well, motion graphics are today’s music video. With a relatively low cost of production, it’s no wonder motion graphics are being overused and abused to such a degree. There’s no on-camera talent to pay. There’s no film crew. There are no agency and client teams travelling to some lovely location…for shooting or editing. Unfortunately, there’s also rarely an idea.

We’ve all seen the spots, which basically consist of a wall-to-wall thirty second script that is slapped onto the screen utilizing the latest software while a voice over reads it all aloud to us. Words spinning onto the screen, getting pushed off screen by new words shoving their way on, type zooming in, type zooming out, often accompanied by adorable little graphics and icons.

To me, all the wiggling and jiggling of type in the world can’t help one remember the idea when there is no idea there to remember in the first place. And while the first few times we saw such a commercial we may have noticed it, the novelty quickly wears off.

Don’t get me wrong. Motion graphics are a great visual tool, just like film and video and animation. But before taking any of them out of the toolbox, there really should be an idea first. A blueprint. You don’t just grab a tool and start making something. Yet, with the advent of motion graphics, that seems to be what’s happening more and more.

Am I crazy? Is it just me? The next time a spot built with motion graphics pops onto your TV, check to see if there is an idea present or just a yawn of a script dancing on and off the screen. See if the #1 rule in advertising was completely blown off.

And finally, for anyone who believes the words in their script are so engaging and compelling that they can carry the entire spot with just a wee bit of technological embellishment through motion graphics, I have a suggestion. Go with radio. It’s even cheaper.

Rick Riley

Mom always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to blog, don’t blog anything at all.” Okay, that’s not true. In fact, mom never read a single blog, nice or otherwise. But it’s still good advice. So look to me for nice … or at least interesting, relevant or funny. Well, maybe smartass or irreverent or sarcastic, too. But that’s it. If it doesn’t fall into one of those categories, you didn’t hear it from me.