Influence: How Stop Motion Started and Found Its Place in Marketing

Updated: Jan 12





Definition

What is stop motion? It is to bring an object, idea, or the impossible to life by using a filmmaking technique that captures the manipulation of an object shot a frame at a time. As a result, it creates the illusion of motion. In other words, it is a little bit of persistence sprinkled with imagination, resulting in magic.

History

While the exact start date of stop motion film is controversial, it was not too far from the very beginnings of film making and Thomas Edison’s idea of a kinetoscope in 1891 which presented viewers with the illusions of moving images when looking into a magical box. Aside from the controversies of who first came up with stop motion, the first documented film was The Humpty Dumpty Circus by J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith in 1898. The film presented the day and life at the circus. Additionally, Blackton had success with another film in 1907 called, Haunted Hotel that used this unfamiliar stop motion technique to showcase the illusions of moving furniture and objects.

In all, there are too many amazing stop motion producers, and attempting to list all of them will probably be a disaster and may even bore the readers so we’ll try to make it simple. A notable pioneer of a stop motion animator was Wladyslaw Starewicz a.k.a Ladislas Starevich. He was known for his captivating and eccentric narratives such as one of his early films, Lucanus Cervus in 1910, which showcased insects used as puppets. One can agree that he was able to bring unprecedented styles during his time and could capture that precious imagination known to dissipate so quickly during the development of a child. It makes perfect sense why he is regarded and credited as a great director for many big animated films throughout stop motion history. A couple of his works are The Mascot from 1934 and The Tale of The Fox from 1937.

Willis O’Brien was another legendary animator during this time who was the mastermind behind The Lost World in 1925 and King Kong in 1933. It was small details and special effects like putting inflatable bladders inside the characters to create the illusion of breathing and implementing blue screens behind live-action models to allow them to be blended into the existing footage. Furthermore, O’Brien went on to become the mentor of one of stop motions most famous animator’s Ray Harryhausen who produced The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1957), Mysterious Island (1961), First Men in the Moon (1964), The Valley of Gwangi (1969), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), and Clash of the Titans (1981).

Although the popularity of stop motion went up and down when T.V. shows became popular, it had a positive impact on stop motion. As television demanded fast and inexpensive production, stop motion became the perfect answer, thus resulting in shows like The Gumby Show (1955) by Art Clokey and game-changing commercials that utilized stop motion’s visual effect techniques in the 70’s. This trend eventually flooded into the music video scenes and even incorporated high-profiled celebrities like Michael Jackson for The California Raisins.


Now more than ever, stop motion is once again in high demand due to businesses shifting to online presence and needing efficient ad campaigns. Also, thanks to the prominent use in recent years like for the Star Wars movies, Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), McDonald's Travis Scott meal commercial with the brought to life Travis Scott action figure (2020), and Kim Khardashian's SKIMS cozy Slides on Instagram (2020).



Stop Motion for Digital Marketing & Ad Campaigns

According to the Digital Report 2020, there has been a global increase of more than 120 million new users for the internet, social media, and mobile phones. Businesses are shifting gears to eCommerce and online platforms to sell their products, making stop motion films the perfect mode to showcase your products to the audiences online! Stop motion brings the organic and artisan feel to the film industry, nonetheless, inexpensive and able to deliver complex company messages through audio and visuals. In a time of an oversaturated market, would you want your products to be presented as the typical sheep, or rather, a bold Shaun the Sheep?

One may ask, but 2000+ frames must be too expensive and impractical.

HOLD STILL...



One thing is clear. Stop motion production companies have always prioritized teamwork to produce engaging, flexible, limitless, AND inexpensive animation that transpires any imagination and ideas into fruition. Here is the breakdown:

ENGAGING

Whether it's the magic in its manual effort which reveals its meticulous details and its quirkiness, it is a subject that brings together conversation, excitements, and loyal fans. Stop motion is eye-catching for its primitive ways and for its ability to deliver a business’s complex messages in a couple of seconds. Perhaps, finding its place during a crucial time where there are abundant opportunities to post social media campaigns and an overflowing amount of customers online.


Big Companies Using Stop Motion Ad Campaigns: Starbucks, Sephora, Amazon Fashion, & Target

INEXPENSIVE

Video views are cost-effective since it lands many eyes on your product for cheap. Just because stop motion shoots a lot of frames, does not directly translate to a hefty price. The budget is flexible and depends on what you want. Starbucks is the perfect example, as they recently incorporated inexpensive and fast stop motion filming techniques to capture moving fruits that magically swirled around a cup to form their new drink Strawberry Acai Starbucks Refresher.

FLEXIBLE & LIMITLESS

Stop motion is an artisan version of filming that displays organic imperfections which is part of its appeal. The creator can make a miniature world aligned with the client's vision and mesh the lines between reality and imagination. It can range from claymation to diverse selections of 3D objects. In the stop motion world, the sky’s the limit and it brings infinite possibilities.

TEAMWORK

The stop motion creation process incorporates interdisciplinary collaboration rather than being a one-man game where one individual is seen generating computer animation behind the computer screen. It brings together a diverse range of professionals, such as scriptwriters, audio professionals, model makers, lighting technical directors, etc... Truly creating a joyful symphony of professionals feeding off of each other’s ideas and skills.

Conclusion

So is stop motion for you? If you or your company’s goal is to create promotional, educational, and purposeful content where your product is the star, then I would say yes! Be sure to leave a like or a comment if this has sparked some ideas and love for stop motion. Also share this blog to a friend or a loved one who came into mind. Check out other stop motion social media influencers like Colette Peri who teach others how to make their own videos through a vibrant spirit! Let’s stay connected through social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin!

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