for a strong, fast pick-me-up
When change can be intimidating – animation can help messages appear more “friendly” and simple.
This post was inspired by a news story I saw this weekend about Australia’s conversion from pounds to decimal currency back on the 14-th of February 1966.
This conversion was a big move for a country used to pounds sterling currency. It was a step into the unknown away from the familiar.
As a “persuasion professional” I’m very interested persuasion techniques – in this case preparing people to be more accepting of change.
To help the public feel comfortable with the conversion – the government used “cute” animation and a singing character “Dollar Bill” to help make the change appear less threatening – and more simple and understandable.
Here is a link to a government ad specially devised for that special date – the 14-th of February 1966.
I encourage you to watch the ad and note:
1. The use of a well-known Australian song (Click Go the Shears) to help embed the messages. The message about the new and unfamiliar inside an old and familiar and Australian tune.
2. the power of the visuals – and the “pound” is portrayed as old-fashioned (orchestral, bald, in bow-tie and tails) compared to the “new” and “easy going” decimal currency – especially the character “Dollar Bill”
3. The repeated visuals of what the new coins will look like – to help the audience get ready for the new coins and notes when they begin to mix with the old.
And when were they to begin to mix?
That’s right – the 14-th of February 1966!
That song was meant to be catchy – like an advertising jingle.
I think today’s audience is more sophisticated and less open to animation persuasion. In the 1960s ( and the ’50s) friendly, simple animation was used in advertising too – and many TV shows used animation in the show titles.
Animation ruled the TV airwaves!
O.K. – here’s that clip for you to analyse:
A more dramatic example of animation persuasion – atomic power
The period following WWII was the atomic age.
An exhibit of California Design I recently visited featured a display on how Walt Disney was brought in to help “normalise and familiarise” atomic power – reducing intimidation and increasing normalisation by using animation.
The display showed clips from The Disney “Atomic” animation. It was interesting how a powerful atomic explosion was conveyed as a giant powerful genie – still powerful, but there to do mankind’s bidding.
There were even atomic boardgames – and “atomic design” with atoms representing modernity (at that time).
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked about the simplicity of animation in ads to explain “medical problems”.
Can you think of animation used to explain the complex or to make things less intimidating?
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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news etc. I like to help people COPE.