The Explainer video is here to stay. We have seen everyone using explainer videos- startups, established businesses, mom&pop shops, NGOs, Government institutions, giant corporates, and top brands. Explainer video (this is for those of you who may have been living under a rock because there is no other way you could have missed the whole animation/marketing revolution) is usually a short video that explains any message or describes a product or service in an engaging, entertaining way- mostly through animation. The explainer video is also called “explainer” for short.
Read also: When should you go for an explainer video?
Today, the Explainer video has come a long way from the rudimentary stick-figure videos that were so much a rage ten years ago. Today, an explainer video is identified with the brand and hence a lot of careful attention is given to the final output. Explainers are not just about explaining something, but also about representing the brand right. Many of the top brands have been using explainer videos brilliantly. They show you how to be classy, informative and entertaining at the same time. Shall we take a look at some of the best examples in recent years?
(Note: These examples are in no particular order)
GOOGLE: GOOGLE FOR WORK
Over the years, Google has been using explainer videos extensively to showcase and explain a wide range of its offerings. These videos are nothing short of fantastic. The “Google for Work” explainer video below is an example of this. Note how it makes use of colors that remind us of Google. The voice over is conversational and well-thought-out to keep us interested without confusing us. The explainer does not use characters and yet the objects communicate effectively with the help of motion graphics animations that compliment the narrator perfectly.
MC DONALD’S: DRIVE-THRU CAR FREE DAY
Mc Donald’s is a fun brand that encourages a vigor for life. It is very important that it comes across as such in its communication. So when it has to make an explainer video explaining something, that’s exactly what it is going to do. It had to explain to the customer that on a specific day, there would be no cars allowed in the “drive-thru”. And so did it by using a whole lot of diverse scenarios and styles, with energetic fun people in all modes of transport, except cars. The explainer video uses bold colors and upbeat sounds, in-keeping with the brand personality. And oh my! What a treat the video is!
WESTJET: FIRST FLIGHT- A SAFETY VIDEO
Flight safety videos are SO BORING. So what do you do? Maybe add a little bit of fun, a cute character, a charming storyline and a generous sprinkle of magic. And voila! You have an explainer video for flight safety that your customers would love and actually pay attention to. The video presented here is just a glimpse of the longer video and makes a very good case for the argument that anything that is “common” need not be “boring”. It all depends on whether you can put a fresh spin on the old narrative.
This explainer video from AT&T really stands out. It uses illustrations that are breathtaking, it uses colors that are calming, the voiceover is spot-on but above and beyond all this, the transitions of this video make it memorable. The video speaks about connections and visually shows the same by seamlessly going from one scene to another with one common element at the center. And that common element is the device on which AT&T is present. Such a subtle yet impactful way to imprint the branding!
IBM: IBM HYBRID DATA MANAGEMENT
We can clearly see the need for an explainer video with IT-related companies like IBM. The service they provide can often be tough to explain. And with this comes another challenge for the brand communicators- if the idea is presented in too simple terms, it may not appeal to the intellect of its very smart audience. An explainer video, like the one in the example, bridges this gap very well. The narration is intelligent and educated about the topic, just like the target audience. The explainer uses colors that are professional and brand-related. Icons and meaningful animation bring the message to life.
MASTERCARD: BY THE NUMBERS
Like IBM, MasterCard, too, has a challenge. And the challenge is that it the services it provides are perceived as complicated. But unlike IBM, they have to communicate to the masses. So how can they overcome the challenge? By making an explainer video that is as clear as possible. The video uses easy narrative and clubs it with scenes that are easy on the eye. The scenes are flat, minimal, clean and simple. The animation, though brilliant, is never in-your-face. The characters are featureless and yet diverse. A beautiful, calming video that conveys the message with warmth.
BBC: BBC RED BUTTON
When TV channels need an explainer video, it is usually to explain a new feature or service they have added. This video is no different. What is different is the brilliant integration of real-life footage with animation. The scenes change and match to fit into a whole story. Pretty illustrations, engaging music, and the VO are other wins here.
TOMS: THE TOMS STORY
Click the play button and you are immediately immersed into a beautiful story. A story that has emotion, and depth. A story that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you love TOMS. The painting-like quality of the illustrations, the immersive animation, the truthful narration makes you want to watch this explainer video again and again.
KFC: YOUTH FOUNDATION
An explainer video about youth has to be youthful, right? Well, this video gives you a full dose of it, right from the word go. The complex, intricate illustrations, the whistle in the music, the ultra-cool transitions are all jaw-droppingly good. It is so mesmerizing that there is no way you will catch everything in one go. But the message? Yeah, the message with reach you with all clarity.
TWITTER: EVENT TARGETTING
A brand like Twitter has people using it for all kinds of reasons. So when it creates an explainer video it has to bear this in mind. This explainer video uses the brand colors and adds a dash of yellow, just to spice it up a bit. The design is flat, minimalistic and sleek. Various elements come together in each scene to enhance the variety of the visual narrative. The animation is smooth motion graphical.
VERIZON: DRIVING HISTORY
Cute and simple, this Verizon explainer video is like a breath of fresh air. It makes use of line illustrations to make the video come to life. While the interfaces are seen on one side, a gentle little story unravels on the other side. You move from one place to another, with no jerks. It makes limited use of colors. Lines and geometric shapes are used with elegance. The secondary animations are such that you may not even notice that they are there.
From simple to absolutely explosive. This explainer video makes you understand why the kind of video you choose has all to do with the brand it represents. When Coca-cola had to explain how it could help its customers enjoy the FIFA World Cup, it did not hold back. The video is a celebration of colors, sounds, fun people and all that’s football, and all that’s Brazil. Play and buckle in for a joy ride!
AMAZON: SMART HOME
Amazon is now everywhere and is getting into the smart home business in a big way. This example (taken from many of Amazon’s explainer videos) is a great example of how the brand reaches out to the customer. The voice is soothing and gentle- almost like Alexa. The scenes are brilliant in their simplicity. The decor is stylish. The use of colors is limited and evocative of Amazon’s brand colors. The character expressions are to-the-point. Thin lines are used throughout for illustration. The grainy texture and the play of shadows make the video truly sophisticated-looking, without being snobbish.
VOLKSWAGEN: SNAP OUT THERE
In one word: AMAZING. This explainer video makes almost poetic use of illustrations and animations. Every detail has been given careful attention. Even the animals have a character and nature, all their own. The voiceover is remarkable- rhythmic, half-narrative, half-singing, and it is the life and soul of a video that is already a win on so many levels. Want to enjoy something as much for the message as for the sheer beauty of it? Click play.
DOMINO’S: PAN PIZZA
Domino’s wanted to explain how they deliver fresh handmade pizza. Their solution? A beautiful stop-motion based explainer video. The voiceover explains how the video is “handmade” just like the pizza. This video is an excellent example of how we can use various mediums to meet our purpose. Would this video have taken a lot of thought, time and effort? Most likely, yes. Is it all worth it? Most definitely, yes.
APPLE: DESIGNED BY APPLE IN CALIFORNIA
The Apple explainer video understands what is at the core of any explanation- the message. Once you get the message right, everything else falls into place. Apple, being the global brand that it is, always shows how less can be more. The script is precise and enlightening, it is the sort of script that makes you think and connect with the brand. The animation using circle is not the first time such a style has been attempted but it fits perfectly with this message. The music makes us forget that there is no voiceover and immerses us in the video. The transitions match the music and the meaning of the explainer.
VISA: THREAT INTELLIGENCE
Every financial firm owes one explainer video to its clients- an explainer video on how they give security top priority. Visa’s explainer video on threat intelligence is not only effective but is also very appealing aesthetically. Motion graphic animation, icons, and secondary animations are used to create a sense of smartness. The colors are professional and so is the voice. When you look at the video, you may miss the kind of effort that went into the smaller details, but the overall sense of beauty stays with you along with the message.
Cream filled Oreos need no explanation, but when you need to explain it, how do you do? This explainer video is not your typical explainer. It is more of a movie, a fantasy. It uses mind-blowing cell animation to recreate the magic of the Arabian Nights. The swirling animation is reminiscent of the creamy Orea and also connects to the dreamlike story as well. The song is sweet and charming, just like the brand. The funny imaginary sequence brings out what the brand wants to convey- an Oreo could resolve a lot of tension 🙂
FACEBOOK: BEST PRACTICES
Does a brand explainer video have to stick to the brand colors? Well, not necessarily and here is a brilliant example of the same. This video has everything a good explainer must have: a clear explanation that is in a warm conversational tone, use of interface scenes only when necessary, visually pretty and memorable design, unique colors and characters, and flawless animation. Not sure how your explainer video should be? This is a perfect example to turn to.
STARBUCKS: GIVE GOOD
Traversing myriad locations and connecting diverse people, this video is a visual treat. The explainer video uses images and clever animation to show how experiences vary around the festival season and yet they are all connected via a brand like Starbucks. We begin with hand drawing doodles, and continue to animation, and finally end with the same being depicted on Starbucks cup.
An explainer video can be anything from “strictly explainer” to videos that explain a concept or philosophy. But when you create an explainer, you should always bear your brand identity in mind. These days, explainer videos can very well alleviate your brand to the next level if executed right. So go ahead, give your brand a chance to connect better with your audience.