News from Annecy 2018: The Latest Trends in the Animation World

We have to admit, we were more than a little excited to attend this year’s MIFA Animation Festival. It’s the time of year to catch that plane to the little alpine town of Annecy in France and geek out on the latest animations. 

People come from across the globe to showcase their work, delighting industry professionals and fans with their creative skills. This melting pot of talent plus a fun, irreverent vibe puts it top of the list of any of our industry’s events.  After all, where else can you find attendees throwing paper airplanes fashioned from event programmes at the cinema screen, to uproarious cheers each time one hits the target. Just magic! But aside from all this, there were some serious talking points on the agenda this year that got us fired up:

Women getting serious kudos

Picture designed by Mathilda Holmqvist

We don’t need to tell you that gender equality is a hot topic at the moment, and with good reason. It’s something that’s receiving big attention throughout the media world, and in the animation industry, it’s no different. The head of the festival signed a pledge to promote gender equality both at the festival itself and within the organisational staff.

We’ve loved to hear that CITIA, the organisation responsible for the event, has an equal split of male and female executives. But still, only 20% of the films that made the cut for the festival are directed by women, showing there’s still progress to be made. Despite this, the festival’s good work in promoting gender equality can’t be denied. This year the focus on women, including presenting Women in Animation with the Mifa Animation Industry Award.  

The rise of digital channels

Hot off the back of France Television’s decision to cancel the France 4 channel, the people behind Annecy festival and us here at Nucco Brain are contemplating the rise of digital. Why, you may ask? The dropped channel distributed mainly kid’s content and animation, and now it will be moved onto digital platforms.

While broadcasting and production companies reverberate with this news, their potential deals being washed out, there’s a bigger discussion to be had around the role of digital. There’s no escaping the effect digital transformation is having on the industry, with more people fragmenting onto digital channels, where funding possibilities are reduced compared to the budget broadcasters are used to.

On a more positive note, the digital trend could well have some advantages. This is especially true for brands who could provide a new source of funding outside the traditional broadcasting business model. You only need to take a look at some of the online digital and VR content highlighted in the festival to see just how powerful new technology can be.

Annecy is now over, but we already can’t wait to be there next year – and we’ll make sure to perfect our paper airplane flying techniques in the meantime!

The Power Of Effective Explainer Videos

Corporate comm. often involves complex information spanning dry topics. Making this info digestible and accessible without turning your audience off in seconds is the challenge!

Explainer videos are one clever way of getting points across in an engaging way. Structure and style play a big role in effective explainer videos. But with the right creative approach you can tap into your audience’s imagination and create a communications piece that’s set to grab attention, even across the trickiest topics.

Making it accessible

Our brains work in a certain way when it comes to processing information. The more intricate the subject, the bigger the need to break it down and make it easy to digest. Think from your own point of view. Everyone’s been in a situation at one time or another where they felt overloaded with information.

To work effectively, explainer videos can’t simply dump huge amount of detail within the first few moments. Instead, they need to follow a clear structure to guide the viewer through the points one at a time. This all starts with a hook. Forget about conveying a range of messages in the first seconds.

To really engage your audience, you’ll need to grab attention with something that’ll pique interest. From there, you can guide them through a journey of awareness, moving onto basic information, then delving into the more complex core of the piece once the viewer is comfortable and engaged.  

Let’s take as an example the latest explainer video we have produced for the European Space Agency on 5G technology:

Find out more about this project

Within the first few seconds the narrator states a fact relevant to all audience members: “being connected is everything”. Through this one sentence, the audience is able to relate to the video’s topic – a hook prompting them to keep watching until the end.

What about style?

Style matters in explainer videos. Because they’re all about appealing to viewers in a novel way, the look and feel of the video will be an important factor in grabbing attention and keeping the audience involved.

Stylised characters are a tried and tested way of enticing an audience to identify with scenarios in explainer videos. Adding a personality to the comms, animated characters, such as the ones created for the 5G video,  open doors for people to relate to the complex topic of the video.

Make the story feel personal

 A narrative with a personal angle is the best way to create a link with your viewer. That means developing a specific story with a certain point of view that’s likely to appeal to your audience. But it shouldn’t end there.

Tying this in with your personal angle as a brand will help you bridge the gap between audience and message, as well as conveying your overall identity. In the ESA video for example, following an explanation of the 5G network and its benefit to the public, the video highlights how the European Space Agency is involved with the technology – thus bringing back the discussion to its core business.

Do it right, and this is what will really make your explainer video stand out from other content pieces.  Interested in learning more? We’ve previously written about our production process for explainer videos on our blog:

Complex ≠ Complicated: 4 Best Practices To Turn B2B Communication Into Exciting Content

Nucco Brain’s Recipe for a Successful Branded Content YouTube Series

 

The Future of Healthcare: Communicating Innovation

A few weeks ago I attended an event that held the title “Innovate or Stagnate: Can Technology Keep the NHS Healthy” – it was an interesting evening of talks from some of the leading experts in the field. I came away with mixed feelings though – hope at the thought of technology saving our beloved NHS, despair at the thought of how or whether they’ll implement it all in time.

Communicating innovation is one of the more challenging adventures in the marketing industry – people want and fear change at the same time. They want it because the future holds exciting opportunities; they fear it because they may not understand the implications, costs or impact it will have on tried and tested circumstances.

To get it right, businesses who are innovating have a need to be constantly engaging the parties who are implementing these innovations and aware of how they communicate with their many different audiences. In the case of the NHS, it is the government, health trusts, payers and healthcare professionals who need to understand how these innovations save money, time and, most importantly, the lives of patients under their care. Further even, it is the patients and the general public at the end of the line who are directly experiencing the ease and improvement of experience that innovation in healthcare could bring, and the future potential it has.

On Thursday,  June 21, we are hosting an event called the Future of Healthcare: Communicating Innovation where our managing director Stefano Marrone will be discussing how brands can and should build a consistent narrative on innovation and sensitive health topics to different audiences across different visual assets. A focus will be on strategies to overcome some of the main challenges associated with public health communication campaigns such as finding ways to both raise awareness and drive behavioural changes within multiple audiences.

Tickets are available here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/future-of-healthcare-communicating-innovation-tickets-46326935110?aff=es2

Communicating innovation to different audiences requires special skills and unique approaches. Let us teach you how.

-Mark Kershaw

Client Engagement Director

GDPR is Here: How to Communicate Corporate Changes Effectively

The time has come where we can no longer hide away from GDPR. As of this week, on May 25th, the new legislation will come into force, replacing the old and outdated Data Protection Act, to protect people’s personal data.

 

Getting your team GDPR-ready

Being GDPR ready does not only mean complying with the new legislation, you also need to provide your staff with the knowledge and the tools to work within the new regulations. Effective training and communication campaigns are the key for ensuring your teams are onboard and in-the-know.

When it comes to communicating new legislation, our team has collaborated with Deloitte M.E on a variety of projects. One of these included explaining the concept and implementation of VAT and Excise taxes to a business audience unfamiliar with the concept in the Middle East.

Through infographics and videos, we helped local businesses explain complicated tax systems to their audience in an easy-to-understand narrative. In the same way, visual storytelling is a smart, memorable approach to communicating essential information on the GDPR. Here’s why:

 

An interesting hook gets more attention

 

What’s drier than communicating the specifics of a new, complicated legislation? The answer is, not many things. For most, reading through the intricacies of a new regulation is less engaging than watching paint dry. Visual storytelling can bring important to life. By creating a hook that will capture the viewer’s attention, you can take them on a journey from awareness, to basic info, to the more detailed information and small print in a few logical, memorable steps.    

 

Simplifying complex info makes it accessible

 

Rather than swamping people with technical jargon and overly complicated content, visuals allow you to communicate intricate ideas in bitesize form. This will effectively break down the reams of information your business audience might find online into relevant, salient points.

 

Storylines make it personal

 

Telling a story with a personal angle is the fastest way to connect with an audience. Visual storytelling gives you the platform to do just that. By creating characters and storylines that resonate, you’ll be speaking to your audience on a level. Being able to identify with the narrative is one powerful way of ensuring messages are absorbed and understood.   

 

Ultimately, GDPR is here, and it’s set to revolutionise the way we hold and use data. Being on top of the changes at all levels of your business is essential to avoid those fines. Through creative communication and visual storytelling, you can drive an effective GDPR comms campaign that resonates and stays with your audience.

Koko Kanu selected at Supertoon International Animation Festival

We are super proud to be in competition at the Supertoon International Animation Festival in the animated commercial category with our film “Koko Kanu – Add some adventure”. The festival will take place in Šibenik, Croatia, from 22th to 27th  July 2018.

Last year, our team worked with Koko Kanu, part of the Campari Group, to create a world of exotic elegance and adventure for their summer launch.  Alongside the animated video, we also created a set of gifs and images to share across the brand’s social media platforms for their special summer launch campaign.

Find out more about this project

Credits

Client: Gruppo Campari
Director: Stefano Marrone
Art Director: Stefano Perelli
Visual Development: Ariel Vittori
Background Design: Laura Guglielmo
Storyboarding and Layout: Leonie Despres
2D Animation: Jorden Oliwa
Animation: Robert Scott, Nicholas Edmonson, Clement Sacchetti
Graphic Design: Thomas Gutteridge
Sound Design: WeAreListeners

Reporting on MIPTV 2018: What The Advertising World Can Learn From TV Series

A few weeks ago, we were at the MIPTV market in Cannes where our VR project EDF Nuclear Symphony was featured at the innovation hub. On this occasion, we also got to see some of the latest TV series out.

The simplistic idea that one advert is the best tool to promote or sell a product is no longer one that holds water. Technology and an explosion of content has ramped up the competition when it comes to brands making noise and gaining attention. In a world where millions of videos and blogs are uploaded onto the web every day, creating something that stands out and engages audiences is more important than ever.

These past few years, TV series have gained popularity worldwide as a major source of entertainment, and brands are turning to this strong narrative format to hook audiences.

Communicating brand identity

Think of how gripping a great TV series can be. This same series format is being used in advertising to hook an audience around a story. Why a story, and not a product? Because it appeals on a level that simply selling a product can’t. It’s visceral, experience-based and allows people to see how the brand can enhance their lifestyle.

The series format, whether on TV or the web, also enables brands to communicate their values in a natural way.  This approach to visual storytelling presents a big opportunity when getting across not only messages, but the personality of a brand, to actively engage audiences.

Take a look at the web series Future Predictions that we are currently producing for Innovate UK as an example. Within 18 months of releasing the first episode, Innovate UK’s YouTube channel subscriptions increased by 730%.

Extending experiences

Great TV shows are so compelling precisely because we follow the characters. We grow to feel something for them over time. Crucially, it gives people headspace to form opinions of the storylines and characters, and to feel involved.

Series advertising uses those exact same principles. By presenting a narrative experience that unfolds over a number of episodes, viewers have the chance to consider their experience, and share it with other audience members. This is a great way of building active engagement. Ideal for creating the buzz needed in such a competitive brand environment.

Creativity that surprises and delights

Online audiences expect more and being able to delight them with fresh content is the way to increase engagement and brand connection. An extended story with a strong narrative creates the perfect tool to build on those expectations. Showcasing not only brand values, but ingenuity and creativity. Collaborations with well known filmmakers to create compelling series have increased in the past year. For example, Luca Guadagnino’s series Walking Stories done for Salvatore Ferragamo.

Exactly as TV series do, an advertising campaign with a narrative gives brands an opportunity to surprise people with plot twists, and keep their audience on their toes, tuned in, ready to engage, and willing to share their experience with other viewers.
At the end of the day, people are looking for those immersive experiences. By taking what we know of the TV series format, we can develop interactive experiences that appeal, stand out and create connections with audiences.

Nucco Brain at D&AD!

We were at the D&AD festival this morning with a full house!

Our MD, Stefano Marrone, gave a talk on content production and how brands are the new content publishers… they just don’t know it yet.

A common trend observed these past few years is that audiences  have a constant hunger for content – good content, and brands have both the drive and resources to fulfil this desire.

Every month, our studio organises regular breakfast workshops on visual storytelling  and how brands can improve their content production strategy.  Check out our Eventbrite page and reserve your spot for our next event.

Free Breakfast Workshops with Nucco Brain

Our regular breakfast workshops will continue in the coming months. These free masterclasses are intimate, practical, and insightful. They will be led by our MD Stefano Marrone, alongside other guest speakers that will be announced closer to the event. Breakfast and coffee will be provided and there will be opportunities to ask questions and network following a 45 min long workshop.  
Spaces are limited to 25 per workshop – reservation is mandatory.
Get in touch at rsvp@nuccobrain.com

 

Could VR Save Your Corporate Comms?

Date: Wed. March 21st 2018
Time: 8.30am – 10.30am
Location: Shoreditch House Library
Suitable for: Brands

 

New technologies such as VR, AR, and 360 videos offer visceral and immersive opportunities that are increasingly used for internal & external communication campaigns as well as for business training purposes. Join us as we explore together some of the best VR case studies as well as some of our hard won lessons from pushing the boundaries with our corporate clients.

We will answer the following questions: How to offer interactive opportunities within a crafted and fixed narrative? How to be effective and not get lost in the technology? When VR is right to be used and when it isn’t? And how to budget the creation of VR assets within a marketing campaign?

How is Animation the Best Way to Campaign About Sensitive Topics?

Date: Thurs. Apr. 12th 2018
Time: 8.30am – 10.30am
Location: Shoreditch House Library
Suitable for: Brands

 

Content creation and entertainment are inextricably linked. At the end of the day, people consume any kind of content for only two reasons: if it’s informative and if it’s entertaining. There are content topics, though, where the concept of “entertainment” needs to be handled carefully.

Using examples of successful campaigns from the NGO sector and our work with charities such as the World Animal Protection, this session will explore how to tackle campaigns that revolve around a sensitive topic such as abuse of physical & psychological kind, or humanitarian & environmental emergencies. We will also explore the power of visual stylisation within a communication campaign context.

 

 The Power of Explainer Videos:

How Complex ≠ Complicated

Date: Tues. May 15th, 2018 
Time: 8.30am – 10.30am
Location: Shoreditch House Library
Suitable for: Brands

 

How can complex scientific research find resonance amongst a general public? This is a question the Nucco Brain team has been focusing on for while since working with Innovate UK and the European Space Agency. From experience, we know that translating series of numbers into engaging videos rather than plain graphs in long reports is one of the best ways to engage with a public.

Focusing on the explainer videos we have produced for Innovate UK and the European Space Agency, this session will focus on: how to construct a narrative around data? What are the most appropriate visual styles? What is the power of explainer videos to build constant engagement.

 

Effective Health Communication:

Replace Stats by a Visual Story

Date: June (TBC)
Time: 8.30am – 10.30am
Location: TBC
Suitable for: Brands

 

When it comes to public health campaigns, the challenge often lies in finding a way to both raise awareness and drive behavioural changes within a mass audience. From creating an animated infographic series of YouTube pre-rolls for GSK Piriton to designing a campaign for Canesten on female intimate health, we have learned how to navigate through sensitive health topics to design engaging content.

This session will explore how to build a consistent narrative on sensitive health topics across different visual assets with the aim of creating meaningful change.

Interested? If you or one of your colleagues would like to attend, email us at rsvp@nuccobrain.com as soon as possible specifying which event you would like to attend.

How can marketers use new narrative trends to create constant engagement in 2018?

 

FORGET NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS – START YOUR YEAR WITH A STORY

 

At Nucco Brain, we believe that storytelling allows great marketing content to generate a response and get repeated. Why? Because stories have proven to be the most effective communication tool since the beginning of times.

Let’s travel back in history. In ancient times, civilisations made extensive use of mythological tales to explain the world around them. This oral tradition of telling stories enabled our ancestors to both teach and remember – two goals still relevant for brands to achieve today. Over time, the evolution of storytelling has always followed technological advances. Many compare the impact of the Internet to that of Gutenberg’s printing press invention in the 15th century, which enabled the written word to surpass the oral tradition of storytelling as a mass communication tool. Now roughly 20 years since the Web’s commercialisation, what impact is it having on our ways of telling stories today and how can brands use new narrative forms to their advantage?

Understanding modern audiences

Successful storytelling always explicitly or abstractly reflects the times we live in; and so should today’s marketing campaigns. More than ever before, we, as audiences, use digital technology extensively in our daily lives. Mobile and wireless technologies born out of the Web have revolutionised not only the way we communicate but also the way we think and perceive reality.

According to media theorist Douglas Rushkoff mobile and wireless technologies fracture our perception of time to only value the present above all by allowing us to communicate in multiple virtual spaces at the same time from one real life location. There is no beginning or end to notifications or the quantity of content available online. As such, past or future become meaningless compared to the present of: what can I watch on YouTube right now? Messenger alert, who can it be? What’s the latest news on my Twitter feed?

Within this context, the challenge for brands is not only to compete with other brands, but the entire media landscape. Creating content that stands out of the crowd is therefore crucial, and using new narrative forms is the best way to ensure constant engagement through marketing campaigns.

Moving towards the post narrative form

Whether it be movies, novels, or even adverts we are accustomed to the classic linear form of storytelling. Something along the lines of: a relatable hero with a goal in the beginning, undertakes a journey full of obstacles in the middle, to finally fail or succeed at achieving the goal by the end. Rushkoff argues that the perpetual state of “now” we experience through our regular use of mobile and wireless technologies is shifting the types of stories we are interested in away from this linear format. He refers to this emerging narrative format as the “Post Narrative Form” where the aim is to expanding on a fictional universe and characters rather than concluding the story of a single protagonist.

Hollywood’s reboot of Star Wars, the increasing popularity of TV & Netflix series, Game of Thrones and its multiple storylines, these are all examples of the post narrative format resonating with audiences worldwide. Satisfying stories nowadays don’t have a resolution but give us a sense of continuation through the perpetual growth of their fictional universes.

How can brands use this new form?

The post narrative form is perfectly in line with modern audiences’ desire to keep the “present” going and have access to multiple points of view from one location. Applying this to a marketing perspective, brands should aim to produce content that satisfies this need for continuation and as such, expand their own identities through different media experiences.

This is already happening today, where marketing a brand across different social media platforms is common practice. However, brands should push this even further by approaching content not just as a way to tell stories but as a way to offer a variety of experiences to immerse in. Augmented and virtual reality technologies now offer such possibilities. By approaching content production as “experiences” to build on and expand, brands will prompt their audiences to interact with them regularly and thus ensure constant engagement.

Nucco Brain’s New Series of Free Events

In the past few months, our studio has organised a couple of free breakfast events focused on our area of expertise: turning dull but important topics into interesting and engaging content. We are excited to reveal our new series of events for the coming months:

Annual Reporting: Effective Strategies to Communicate Both the Positives & Negatives 

December 7th 2017 (Central London Location TBC closer to event)

Annual Reporting – like Christmas it comes around once a year with a mixed feeling of dread and joy. Depending on the results this is either happy news that has resulted in plaudits, bonuses and smiles – or the beginning of a hugely negative narrative that will have to be combated in order to not impact morale.

Part of the corporate life, annual reporting is a perfect example of how even seemingly dull messages can be turned into ones that support, empower and offer distinct benefits. For every business – investors, shareholders, employees and suppliers are all looking at the annual reports to gather a view on the growth, sustainability and strategy of a company. Our clients have come to believe that making them interesting, engaging and entertaining is a benefit.

At this session we will explore and share how we have helped clients take seemingly ponderous sets of numbers and brought them to life in a delightful way. We will look at how we can summarise complex relationships of results and corporate activities into easy to read and grasp graphics. Come and join us and put an end to PDF’s generated from excel and word clogging up people’s valuable mental real estate!

Using VR for Corporate Content: A Case Study of the Best Practises 

January 11th 2018 (Shoreditch House)

Corporate Content – even the words sound dull. Unfortunately despite all we have learnt about communicating effectively, and despite the importance of what businesses do both economically and socially – most of this knowledge isn’t applied. The best communication leaves room for the viewers to find themselves in the story – interacting at least at an emotional level. New technologies such as VR or 360 videos offer visceral and immersive opportunities to create such emotional connection.

We will go through: How to offer interactive opportunities within a crafted and fixed narrative? How to be effective and not get lost in the technology? When VR is right to be used and when it isn’t? How VR doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg?

Join us as we explore together some of the best examples we can find as well as some of our hard won lessons from pushing the boundaries with our clients.

GDPR is here: How to Communicate Change Through Visual Storytelling 

February 2018 (Date & Location TBC)

As of May 2018, businesses and corporations will have to comply with the new European GDPR regulations regarding their data management. This change of processes will undoubtedly call for internal communication initiatives. However, engaging employees when it comes to understanding complex legislation isn’t easy. This session will benefit those who are interested in the power of video and design when it comes to corporate communication.

We will explore: The bulk of what GDPR is, how reports and regulations can be woven into a narrative, case studies of extremely engaging B2B content shared and watched over and over, how animation can outline complex policies and regulations.

These masterclasses, led by our managing director Stefano Marrone, are intimate, practical and insightful.

Spaces are limited to 25 for each event.

Interested? Please email rsvp@nuccobrain.com as soon as possible specifying which event you would like to attend.

 

Insights from our world

Visit Us On InstagramVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Linkedin