True Case Studies of How Animation Can Grow a Business

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Being around in the industry for some time now, I’ve noticed that there is a missing manual that shares with marketers how to effectively use animation to sell their products and services. …

Being around in the industry for some time now, I’ve noticed that there is a missing manual that shares with marketers how to effectively use animation to sell their products and services.

This e-book intends to be that missing manual.

Several questions are answered. Questions that may have been raised by you. And questions that I rose for you, such as:

- The power of animation in today’s marketing game and its applications
- True case studies of how businesses are using animation to market their products and services
- The myths about animation being expensive and how you as a client can mitigate the costs
- How to work with an animation company and what to expect from them
- How to communicate effectively to an animation company
- Looking for the right animation company to work with
- Why animated commercials rock and ‘live’ adverts suck
- Using character licensing to boost the sales of your products and services
- Some ideas for character licensing

It is my sincere hope that this e-book offers you some fresh knowledge and perspectives regarding the above-mentioned topics.

If you walk away with a better understanding of the animation industry, I would have succeeded.
I would appreciate it very much if you could drop me an email at info@media-freaks.com to tell me how you find the book.

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  • 1. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business www.media-freaks.com Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 1
  • 2. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business Copyright Information Information in this document is the property of Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. No part of this document may be duplicated, modified or reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission from Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. Unauthorized duplication and modification of this material in any form is strictly prohibited. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. You are free to distribute this document provided that no contents within are modified and Mediafreaks retains free credits and copyright of the contents within. If you have any information regarding the illegal re-selling or duplication of this document please report it to info@media-freaks.com. Disclaimer Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this product, or for any injury, damage and/or financial loss sustained to persons or property as a result of using this report. We cannot guarantee your future results and/or success as there are some unknown risks in business and on the internet that we cannot foresee. The use of our information should be based on your own due diligence, and you agree that our company is not liable for any success or failure of your business that is directly or indirectly related to the purchase and use of our information. For general enquiries or feedback, please write to: info@media-freaks.com MEDIAFREAKS PTE LTD 206A SYED ALWI ROAD SINGAPORE 207739 OFFICE NO: +65 6323 3186 FAX: +65 6323 2960 www.media-freaks.com Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 2
  • 3. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business CONTENTS www.media-freaks.com Click on the topics below to jump to the corresponding page About Mediafreaks About Aldric Chang Introduction The Power of Animation | Benefits and Applications True Case Studies of Companies Using Animation to Grow Their Businesses More Case Studies The Myth about Animation Being Expensive and How to Mitigate the Costs Working With an Animation Company and the Pipeline Involved Choosing the Right Animation Company to Work With Why Animated Commercials Rock and Plain ‘Live’ Adverts Suck! Character Licensing for Your Products? Forget Mickey and Bob! Character Licensing from Mediafreaks Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 3
  • 4. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business Products and Services that can Benefit from Character Licensing Conclusion ABOUT MEDIAFREAKS www.media-freaks.com Mediafreaks is one of the key players in Singapore's animation industry. We take pride in creating our own quality original animated cartoon content as well as producing high-end animation work for broadcast and advertising purposes. Mediafreaks hosts a team of highly competent animation production crew and is backed by a management team knowledgeable in animation, marketing, production management, creative commercialization and L&M (licensing and merchandising) exploitation. Mediafreaks's core expertise lies in documentary animation, animated TV commercials, medical animation and cartoon animated series. Having brought hundreds of concepts to life through animation, Mediafreaks has become a brand name associated with quality animation and value-added services. Mediafreaks focuses mainly on providing service work and its sister companies Mediafreaks Cartoon and Character Farm create their own original animated content for export into the international market for broadcast and licensing. Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 4
  • 5. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business To date, Character Farm has produced Katakune (www.katakune.com) - a 520 minute 3D animated preschooler series which has sold to USA, China, Taiwan, the Middle East and Thailand. It is currently being distributed in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia with licensing programs being rolled out for Pan China, Japan and Korea. Mediafreaks Cartoon has embarked on the production of its first two intellectual properties – Sedo Dog (www.sedodog.com) and The Gogo Squad, both original animation concepts created by Mediafreaks Cartoon. Other intellectual properties are also being licensed as mobile phone contents and various merchandise to licensees all around the world. You can view more information by visiting www.media-freaks.com/character-licensing.html. ABOUT ALDRIC CHANG www.media-freaks.com Aldric Chang is a self-confessed workaholic creative entrepreneur who has written and produced music, computer games, animated cartoon series and over two hundred animation projects. He has over the past few years grown a 2-men animation firm into a 30 odd men strong company today. His company Mediafreaks is a unique vehicle combining animation and entertainment supported by the principles of internet marketing and multiple revenue streams. Aldric Chang is currently focused on growing Mediafreaks into an entertainment behemoth with a solid structure that feeds on a passive income besides a service revenue stream. INTRODUCTION www.media-freaks.com Thank you for downloading this e-book from Mediafreaks entitled ‘True Case Studies on How Animation can Help Grow a Business’. Why I Wrote this E-book First, let me profess that I am not a writer, so do accept my humble apologies if you spot grammos and spellos. It is not my intention to win an award with this humble document, but rather to share some information that would hopefully be useful to some of you out there. Being around in the industry for some time now, I’ve noticed that there is a missing manual that shares with marketers how to effectively use animation to sell their products and services. This e-book intends to be that missing manual. Several questions are answered. Questions that may have been raised by you. And questions that I rose for you, such as: Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 5
  • 6. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business - The power of animation in today’s marketing game and its applications True case studies of how businesses are using animation to market their products and services The myths about animation being expensive and how you as a client can mitigate the costs How to work with an animation company and what to expect from them How to communicate effectively to an animation company Looking for the right animation company to work with Why animated commercials rock and ‘live’ adverts suck Using character licensing to boost the sales of your products and services Some ideas for character licensing It is my sincere hope that this e-book offers you some fresh knowledge and perspectives regarding the above-mentioned topics. If you walk away with a better understanding of the animation industry, I would have succeeded. I would appreciate it very much if you could drop me an email at info@media-freaks.com to tell me how you find the book. We are genuinely looking for honest feedback, so we want to hear your absolute genuine thoughts on the e-book. If you didn't like it then please also let us know, we can hopefully improve it for you. Thank you. Aldric PS: It was free, so be kind ;-) PPS: Just joking, we want to hear your honest thoughts  THE POWER OF ANIMATION | BENEFITS AND APPLICATIONS www.media-freaks.com In my work I have many clients ask me what 3D animation can do for them. I always tell them loads. 3D animation is really one of the most versatile sales presentation medium available to a business and if harnessed well, can mean an increase in sales for any product and business. Many marketing managers did not learn the power of using new media in school. The lecturers were usually more familiar with traditional marketing media like live action TV commercials and paper adverts because when they were younger, that's all they had. But nowadays, there's the internet as a new media. Internet marketing is a whole different knowledge all by itself and that's not being taught in most schools. And most certainly most marketing courses do not teach how to use multimedia and animation to help sell a product or a service. So they rely on boring power points and paper hand-outs. Yawn. If animation is used effectively, it can help demonstrate a product's or engineered system's full potential, far beyond what a power point or hand-outs can achieve. I've listed some of the benefits and applications below: Benefits Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 6
  • 7. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business - Demonstrate how your product works without having to set it up or lug it about - Create an upmarket feel of the product or service and justify a premium price - Make a product or service more attractive, sexier and dynamic looking, and enhance its perceived value - Give a boring system a visual boost through exciting graphics and animation - Dramatize boring information and data - Make anything look cutting edge and state of the art - Create something that can never be achieved through live shots Applications - Show how your product or service can be applied to a problem - Show the internal components of a complex product - Bring the client on a tour of a facility or property using 3D animation - Show how a product interacts with its customers - Show how a very complex system works through animated sequences and diagrams - Showcase a product or facility that has not yet been built - Show several consecutive operations of a system or assembly line - Show various negative scenarios that can be resolved through the use of your product or service - Zoom into a microscopic detail of a product or its component - Show each stage of a planned development clearly - Show how something like a medical device interacts with the human body If you are looking for a way to enhance the presentation for your product or service, using 3D animation is the way to go. Smart companies are using it to turbo-charge their marketing campaigns and presentations. The clever use of animation has enabled them to secure major contracts in their fields and boost their sales, and you should too! In the next topic, I would like to discuss some true case studies of how some clients of Mediafreaks have used animation to grow their business. TRUE CASE STUDIES OF COMPANIES USING ANIMATION TO GROW THEIR BUSINESSES www.media-freaks.com The use of computer animation in marketing and advertising is potent as a communications tool. Many companies are discovering that it is much more effective and powerful than the boring PowerPoint slides and mundane TV adverts that use only live actors. While it shares some characteristics of other visual mediums, it has unique attributes that no other marketing medium can equal. Let's take a look at how your company can tap into the capabilities of this great marketing tool by studying some true case studies of how some other companies have been doing it. Case Study: Hi-Corporation and Sharp HI CORPORATION is a leading research and development company in middleware development for embedded devices whose flagship product MascotCapsule® is a real-time 3D rendering engine. In addition to all Japanese carriers and handset manufacturers, the engine has been widely adopted in the US, Europe, Korea, and China. Character Farm and Mediafreaks Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 7
  • 8. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business Cartoon – both sister companies of Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. specializing in the creation of original animated content - have entered into a licensing collaboration with HI CORPORATION to release a set of original characters from the animated series Katakune TM and Sedo DogTM to be offered as downloadable content for mobile phones released in Japan. These characters will be used for a service where users can set characters to display on their mobile phone standby screens, menu screens, and other screens. The character moves around the mobile phone screen and reacts according to events such as incoming calls and mail. A character from the Sedo DogTM family has been embedded into a high-end Sharp mobile phone as a default offering. This case study shows how cartoon characters can be used to make a product more enticing. Please click on the pictures or the link below to learn more about our cartoon characters and licensing opportunities. http://www.media-freaks.com/services/character-licensing. Copyright © Mediafreaks Cartoon Pte Ltd. and Character Farm Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Case Study: APMI Kaplan APMI Kaplan – a quality educational facility - wanted to showcase their brand new campus. However, in most cases, reality is imperfect and live shoots usually amplifies that imperfection. A 3D animation walkthrough helped to create the experience of studying in Kaplan’s beautiful environment, sans the imperfections. The educational sector being a very competitive one, this extra presentation effort immediately helps to establish Kaplan as the right place to study. Please click on the picture to watch the animation. Copyright © Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Case Study: Shark Energy Drink Field Catering wanted to bring across how their Shark Energy drink can restore energy to the most exhausted individual. Mediafreaks came up with a concept that showed how Shark can power up an entire city. Sure it is an exaggeration, but all TV adverts build on hype, and 3D animation does that the best! The conventional live TV adverts can never achieve this kind of effect. The Shark Energy Drink TV advert was shown during the New Year period to good response. Please click on the picture to watch the animation. Copyright © Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Case Study: Schering Plough Clarityne Schering Plough wanted a different approach towards showcasing their Clarityne product – which helps curbs nose allergy problems. Mediafreaks came up with an animated TV commercial that discusses how allergens bring about the allergy symptoms and how Clarityne can help improve the quality of life. Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 8
  • 9. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business Again, if this was a ‘live-actor’ advert, the result would be much more boring and less effective. The graphics concept was also implemented on buses as mobile giant ads. Please click on the picture to watch the animation. Copyright © Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Case Study: Pilot Pen V-Grip It’s tough to sell something as conventional and mundane as the humble pen. No matter how much technology has gone into it, unless the pen has been given a micro super-computer and can write on its own, a pen is still a pen. So how do you sell a pen? Check out this cheeky animated TV commercial of a family who finds so much fun using the new Pilot V-Grip that they prefer to pen their conversations to each other! Again, having the commercial done in 3D animated form brings out the fun and humour. A live advert just wouldn’t have done justice. Please click on the picture to watch the animation. Copyright © Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Case Study: The Marbella Condominium Is it impossible to sell something that has not yet been constructed? Well, definitely not in the case of the Marbella Condominium. What better way to showcase the luxurious condominium than a 3D simulated walkthrough complete with live actors composited into the environment? Copyright © Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Case Study: Linden Place Linden Place is an up market residential property in China. The TV commercial that the developers wanted to produce should spoke to those who recognize class and prestige. Wanting to steer away from the conventional property commercials that are a dime a dozen, they decided to go for a beautiful and realistic 3D animated rendering of an exquisitely crafted plague that emits elegance, prestige and exclusivity. To create the plaque in real life was too expensive in comparison to a digital representation, and Mediafreaks came to the rescue. Please click on the picture to watch the animation. Copyright © Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Case Study: Extra Excellence Extra Excellence - a company which specializes in nutritional immunology health products – needed a kit to educate their customers and affiliates on various ailments and the causes of these ailments. Mediafreaks’s solution to this was a CD-Rom with several animated sequences showcasing these conditions. Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 9
  • 10. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business This proved to be an effective marketing cum educational kit rolled into one as both perspective customers and affiliates benefited from the rich information presented in this CD-Rom. Copyright © Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Case Study: Wyeth Robitussin This set of 2 x 20 seconds TV adverts were designed to create impact advertising through exaggerating the effects a bad cough can induce on people. The different scenarios enacted here dramatize the effects of the 2 different kinds of coughs that the Robitussin cough solutions are formulated for. Through the cycling of the 2 different TV commercials, it generated curiosity and interest from the audience who realized that these were 2 different TV commercials featuring different cough solutions for varying cough conditions. Being in bursts of 20 seconds and coupled with the fact that the scenario in each TVC is rather dramatic, animation was the perfect and cheaper medium to execute these adverts. Please click on the pictures to watch the animated TVCs. Copyright © Mediafreaks Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved. MORE CASE STUDIES 3M 3M demonstrated how their new Aldara skin cream worked to medical practitioners with a CDROM featuring several 3D animated sequences. They showed how this compound actually empowered the body’s immune system to target and destroy skin cancer lesions and convinced doctors and patients of its effectiveness. Alcatel Alcatel, a multinational technology firm, won a $650 million dollar contract with the London Underground Subway Lines to re-signal their subway tracks. Alcatel commissioned a series of 3D animation to demonstrate how their systems would operate. It enabled executives from the London Underground to easily understand Alcatel’s technology, and consequently awarded them the contract. Ashton - Potter Ashton - Potter, a printing systems manufacturer and printer of premium quality stamps, currencies and security-protected documents used 3D animation to propose an innovative solution to the U.S. Postal Service. It had developed an integrated system for printing, numbering, perforating, slitting and packaging, all in one continuous process. An animated sequence Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 10
  • 11. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business demonstrated the whole process in a cohesive flow. This animation played a crucial part in landing them the 112 million dollar contract from the U.S Postal Service. Insta-Clean Insta-Clean had a sponge made from a new, high-tech material. Conventional photography and even microscopic scans could not effectively demonstrate how unique this structure was and why it was different from the ordinary sponge. A 3D animation allowed a zoom in to the micro pore structure of the sponge and showcased its unique makeup to perspective customers. There was no better way to sell this plain looking product. Jaguar The V-12 engine is the pride and joy of Jaguar. The internal structure and workings of the V-12 engine came alive in a now legendary TV commercial using 3D animation. The chrome hood ornament morphed into a floating engine, with its cogs, gears and other parts moving in mechanical perfection. It’s not uncommon for car companies to use animation to tell their technology stories, but Jaguar was just a little more stylish at doing it. Pickering Nuclear Reactor Pickering Nuclear Reactor wanted to show people how its plant works and functions, minus the hassle of actually bringing them on the excursion physically. 3D animation came to the rescue by taking visitors on a ‘virtual tour’. The animation also adds extraordinary value as it provides viewpoints into the deepest levels of the plant which would be impossible to show through real-life excursions and even realworld cameras. H20 Vacuum 3D animation made dirt, hair and airborne bacteria appear interesting through an infomercial created for the H20 vacuum, showing how these particles can be filtered and neutralized by the innovative invention. If the companies discussed above can succeed with using 3D animation to sell their products and services, you can too. Please contact Mediafreaks at info@media-freaks.com to discuss your animation needs. You can also visit us at www.media-freaks.com to see more examples of animation projects we have produced for our clients. Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 11
  • 12. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business THE MYTH ABOUT ANIMATION BEING EXPENSIVE AND HOW TO MITIGATE THE COSTS www.media-freaks.com One of the very common things I always hear people talk about is about them having the idea that animation is a very expensive service to procure, so much so that it is almost unattainable. This is absolutely untrue and I would like to debunk this thinking once and for all. While animation is not exactly cheap, it certainly does not cost an arm and a leg to produce either. There are already many companies that have come to realize how powerful animation is as a marketing tool and they are consistently using it to boost their marketing campaigns and presentations. If the cost of animation is really so out of reach and the investments are unrecoupable many times over, it is unlikely that these companies would do this. In this chapter, I am going to share with you some tips on how to get the animation you want whilst mitigating the cost. First, let’s discuss how animation companies typically determine how much they want to charge for a project. Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 12
  • 13. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business How Animation Companies Determine What to Charge for a Project The key determinants that affect how an animation company charges a client are as follows: How much the client brings to the meeting table By this I don’t mean how much cash. I actually mean how much materials and references the client brings to the meeting. Obviously the more the better. The clearer you are in presenting what you want and what you need, the better an animation company can zoom in on how much work has to be done. By knowing what you want and need as a client and setting your expectations right, you can help the animation companies determine better how extensive your project is going to be and therefore give a more accurate quotation. In many cases, animation companies quote on the higher end if a client presents too many uncertainties, just to be on the ‘safe side’. This obviously works against a client’s best interests. In Mediafreaks case, we insist on defining or at least outlining a concept before we proceed to give a quotation. We want to give a fair quotation and be able to provide a reasonable assessment before committing to the client, and vice versa. Sometimes, we get clients who want a quotation in a hurry, and they can give something really vague. For example, they might simply say, “I want to create a presentation of how my manufacturing plant works. How much is something like that going to cost?” Now, that is really vague! It would be good if they can bring certain information to the table, such as: 1. How long they want the presentation to be 2. Show us brochures and give us a clear idea of what their company does 3. Pictures and sketches of what their plant and equipment looks like, and how the process flow is like 4. What is the presentation and deployment method? Do they want to deploy this over the internet, a CD-Rom or simply from a laptop? Or perhaps they want to do this ‘live’ from a stage or in a boardroom? Do they need a voiceover or music to go with this? 5. What budget they have in mind Duration - By telling us how long they want the presentation to be, we could gauge from experience if that duration makes sense. Is it too long or too short? Too long and you risk losing the attention of your client. It also usually means a higher cost. Too short and the presentation would not be effective. A presentation utilizing animation has its own ‘effective duration period’ and this depends on the product or service in question. An experienced animation house would be able to provide some advice on this. Corporate Information - We need as much information as possible to understand who our client is and what they are doing. This will allow us to do some research after the initial meeting and find angles for the presentation that would add value. In some cases, we even manage to reduce the cost of the production when we find that we could use certain visuals or materials we have developed previously that are related to the same industry. Picture References - By showing us pictures and sketches of the plant and corresponding equipment involved in the manufacturing process, we would be able to gauge what kind of work Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 13
  • 14. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business we would need to do. We would know how extensive the work is going to be and give a fair quotation. If the client’s budget doesn’t fit, we can also suggest ways to present the animation to reduce the workload and therefore the corresponding cost. Deployment Method cum Voiceover and Music - It always helps if the client has in mind how they want to present their product or service. Do they want this to be deployed over the internet or a CD-Rom where clients can view the presentation in the comfort of their homes or offices? Do they want to do this presentation ‘live’ from a stage or in a boardroom? All these will affect the presentation method and we can advice the client on the varying costs and presentation tools available, and whether a voiceover or music would be necessary. There are again varying costs for voiceover and music and we would be able to make suggestions and recommendations to the choices available. Our motive here is to offer the most effective solution at the most efficient cost. Budget in Mind – This is always the million dollar question. Clients sometimes have a budget in mind and they need to tell us frankly what they are thinking. Some of them have the misconception that if they tell a vendor their budget, the vendor would max it out. To be honest, we seldom meet clients who can match whatever we should rightfully charge for a project. Very often, it is our associates in the broadcasting industry who have a more accurate idea of what the fees should rightfully be. Saying that, we understand that the common clients in the other industries have a different perspective and therefore we do accept budgets that are lower than what we would normally charge. In Mediafreaks’s case, when clients tell us their budget-in-mind, it can go either of these directions: a. We tell them that the budget is really way too low to do anything b. We tell them that the budget is low but the project is do-able if they are willing to have the concept tweaked and lower their expectations c. We tell them that the budget is OK d. We tell them that the budget is more than enough and if they are willing to, we can do more with that budget In conclusion, this is what I have to advice to clients. Please don’t be vague about what you want because you know your business best and you need to be the one to give directions on what you want to achieve. As an animation company, what we can do is to understand your brand values, your products and services, your culture and what you want to achieve. But what we cannot do is to digest the years of experience you have garnered in your field of expertise within a few days or even a few weeks or months. Please be as concise as possible and do your preparatory work beforehand. This ultimately will not only help you in getting a fair quotation, but also make this presentation a success! Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 14
  • 15. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business Please contact Mediafreaks at info@media-freaks.com to discuss your animation needs. You can also visit us at www.media-freaks.com to see more examples of animation projects we have produced for our clients. WHY ANIMATED COMMERCIALS ROCK AND PLAIN ‘LIVE’ ADVERTS SUCK! www.media-freaks.com 1. ‘Live’ adverts require actors and models, and they can be hard to schedule if they are popular. This can be a problem if they fall ill, go out of the country or busy with other assignments. Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 15
  • 16. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business 2. Popular actors and models can be expensive to hire. Some of their managers may charge according to where the advert is shown, meaning an extra fee per location. 3. Using actors and models may have many red-tapes due to consideration for their image and many concepts may not be fulfillable. 4. Actors and models are susceptible to popularity upheavals. Artistes are just humans prone to scandals and scandals can easily cause a wane in their popularity. 5. Animated adverts using animated characters on the other hand do not suffer from the above issues live TV adverts face. As far as an make-belief character is concerned, its popularity can be timeless. Just look at Fido Dido and Ronald Mc Donald! 6. With animation, the sky’s the limit! Animation can achieve the most bizarre special effects and be presented in the most abstract environments without any worry about the logistics and possibilities. You can go as far as Mars or as high as the Heavens! You can make an entire city black out or make the Sun go nova! Go wild with animation! 7. Animation can be combined with live environments or actors to create a really cool commercial. But a ‘live-shot’ commercial is just that – a plain old boring commercial! Just look at all the cool mobile hand phone ads combining special effects with live elements! 8. Contrary to popular belief, animated adverts are usually cheaper to produce than ‘live’ adverts if you deal directly with the animation house and not through a third party like an advert agency. In Mediafreaks’s case, we are fully capable of coming up with advert concepts and all kinds of artwork. Many times, advert agencies sub-contracted the work to us and utilized our concepts instead of coming up with their own, charging a fat fee for the ‘trouble’! Our charges alone are very reasonable and usually more affordable than a ‘live’ advert. WORKING WITH AN ANIMATION COMPANY AND THE PIPELINE INVOLVED www.media-freaks.com In Mediafreaks, we have garnered a wealth of experience working with numerous clients on hundreds of projects. As such, we have distilled our experience into a delivery pipeline that has worked very well for our clients and ourselves. This pipeline is explained below: Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 16
  • 17. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business Storyboards and 3D models - In the early stages, upon confirmation of the project, we start receiving briefing from the client regarding the subject matter. We may also receive a graphics wish list, draft scripts and various research materials. After reading these materials, we will begin doing our own research and study into these topics and create the storyboards. We will also consider what 3D models we need to build and the best methods to build them. We usually want to receive this as early as possible to accord enough time for animation and rendering, which are a lot more time-consuming. Upon completing the storyboards, we will submit them to the client for confirmation or changes. The completed storyboards then become the basis of a rough cut and also the animation. In certain cases where necessary, we also submit the completed 3D models for confirmation on technical accuracy. Scene Setup and Animatics - Once the storyboards and 3D models are confirmed correct by the client, we will proceed on setting up the scenes and creating the animation. The animatics are then rendered in low resolution for the client’s confirmation on presentation style and accuracy. Renders - Once the animatics are approved, we will render out a few frames from each scene with proper lighting and texturing. These renders will be submitted to the client for approval on the look. Once the client has approved the renders, we will proceed for compositing and final renders. Deliverables - The renders will then be delivered in either uncompressed TIFF or Targa and either via FTP or hard drive, depending on the client’s preference. Music, VO and Foley - In cases where the client requires music composition, voiceovers and sound effects, we can bring the animated sequence to a post production house that provides these services, and we will charge a producer fee for overseeing these production. Post Production - In cases where the client requires us to output to Beta or other broadcast format, we can bring the final graphic edits and sound to a post production facility for export into these broadcast formats. Sometimes, pipelines need to be structured differently to cater to different productions. Mediafreaks is always flexible and understanding towards this need. CHOOSING THE RIGHT ANIMATION COMPANY TO WORK WITH www.media-freaks.com That’s not so difficult to answer, is it? Of course you go to Mediafreaks! Alright, seriously now, no single company is suitable for every single project under the sun. I would like to say that Mediafreaks is good at everything, but unfortunately we are not. Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 17
  • 18. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business Some companies excel at certain genres and other companies at other genres. Mediafreaks specializes mainly in animated commercials, broadcast animation for documentaries, medical visualization, character design and medical visualization. There are companies who specialize solely in special effects or architectural visualization work. The following is my honest advice regarding this subject matter: 1. Find a company that has an extensive portfolio or one that has done something similar to what you have in mind. The first ensures an experienced company and the second gives you the confidence that they have done something similar before and can probably deliver the same to you. 2. Make sure that the company is using more in-house staff than freelancers. Many freelancers are unreliable and may disappear when the going gets tough. Ultimately the company is responsible for their conduct, but you would have wasted your time and perhaps missed a good opportunity to impress with your presentation or marketing campaign. So you stand to lose out even if you don’t have to pay for the project ultimately. 3. Ask for milestones and deliverables. Understand what the company’s pipeline is like. Any animation companies worth their salt would be able to tell you a pipeline and milestone delivery that sounds logical and reasonable. Click here if you missed my section on Working with an Animation Company to find out more. 4. Find a company that responds fast to emails and phone calls. If the company takes a long time to return mails and calls, chances are they are either too busy to respond, can’t be bothered to respond or too disorganized to respond. Either way you should move on and look for the next vendor. 5. Find a company that has project managers or account managers in place. You want to speak to speak to marketing people who understand your marketing needs and not animators who think about cool special effects and nice animation. 6. After giving concise background information of your company and what you want to achieve, see how fast and pro-active the company is in coming back with a proposed solution and a quotation. See if the quotation makes sense and that the company can account for each of the service listed. 7. I would not advise going around for quotations because quite honestly every animation company may charge differently according to their staff strength, reputation, portfolios, whether they are using freelancers or perm staff, standard of work, etc. There are too many variables and it is akin to comparing the prices of cars of different makes. It won’t be fair in this respect. Try to go for whichever company can possibly deliver what you need within your budget. 8. Lastly, always work with a company you feel comfortable with. Go with your gut feeling. If you don’t feel good about the company, it means you don’t have chemistry with the people there and chances are you won’t enjoy the working relationship. This will affect the end product. CHARACTER LICENSING FOR YOUR PRODUCT? FORGET MICKEY AND BOB! http://www.media-freaks.com/character-licensing.html If you manufacture toys and apparels for kids and young adults, then you may have at some point in time thought of licensing a cartoon character to use on your products. Such a licensing deal Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 18
  • 19. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business involves you licensing the rights from the owner of the cartoon character to place images of the character on your products. In return, the licensor (character owner) receives a royalty off every product you sell. Obviously, your products will enjoy a much higher volume of sales as opposed to having no character licensing in place. People tend to buy ‘character-licensed’ products as a suitablelooking character used on the right merchandise will often boost the aesthetics of the product and drive sales. However in some cases you do have to give away an arm and a leg in order to license a character. This topic is my area of expertise and I would like to discuss how you can make more money for yourself and avoid giving away a king’s ransom to license a character. Do you really have to go for the famous cartoon characters? Chances are the famous characters have licensing agents in place to negotiate the deals. They are tough business people and will be asking for something called a minimum guarantee – which is a figure derived through whatever this means you will have to cough up cold hard cash upfront without having made any sales yet! You can bet your car that folks representing a famous cartoon character like Mickey or Bob the Builder are going to ask you for a hefty MG! Just starting out, you might not want to shoulder this kind of risk. There is no guarantee that your product would sell just because it has Mickey or Bob on it. On the other hand, owners of lesser known characters are often without agents and much more flexible in the deals. Very often, you can get away without paying a MG and negotiate a better deal as long as you are fair about it. Don’t insist on only characters that appear on TV! There might not be a need to! All too often product manufacturers insist on licensing only characters that have a movie or cartoon series. Undoubtedly, famous characters with a movie or cartoon series have good exposure. But it is not necessarily true that this will translate to more sales as merchandise is concerned! This is all dependant on the age demography you are targeting. If your product is for a more matured audience, then chances are they would not be as characterconscious as their younger counterparts. This demography is more concerned about the product quality, functionality and aesthetics. As long as the character looks good on the merchandise, they would usually buy it. If your product is targeted at infants and toddlers, then you have even less to worry about. People just want to buy whatever looks nice, suitable and safe for their babies. Only if your product is targeted at the demography that encompass die-hard fans of the movie or cartoon series should you consider licensing the characters of these shows. Choose a character for its look, not its fame! All too often I’ve seen product manufacturers license the wrong characters for their products, and this undermines the potential of the products. Don’t license a character for its fame. License a character for its look and your product will sell better simply because it looks better. Make sure it complements and boosts the aesthetics of your product before you license the character. Ask the licensor for the style guide and determine if the graphics within can be adapted for your products. Ask the licensor if they could assist in creating customized graphics based on their characters to suit your products. Very often, owners of lesser known cartoon characters would be much more willing to accommodate to your requests as they are eager to close licensing deals. There are too many licensing enquiries for Mickey and Bob for them to concede to your requests. Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 19
  • 20. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business Where to look for these lesser-known cartoon characters? Animation companies’ websites and forums related to computer graphics, anime or animation are often good sources to hunt for such characters. Many animation companies and enthusiasts like to design characters and put them up on the internet for business or simply for fun. Some of these characters are really well-designed and would look great on merchandise. YouTube and similar video sharing sites are also good places to look for these cartoon characters. Sometimes animation clips on characters that have never been heard of are created and put on YouTube, and some of them have received as many as a few million views! Talk about starting off with a great exposure for your product if you license those characters! So as you can see from the above discussion, there are significant advantages in licensing a lesser–known character as opposed to a well-known character. If you are just starting out, be prudent about how you want to spend your money. You could be spending more money on A&P to drive sales than on paying out fat MGs that guarantee nothing except a fat commission for the licensing agents. And if you are a seasoned product manufacturer, hopefully this article gives you a fresh perspective in considering the least famous characters for your products. The world is evolving, and so is the way people are corresponding to character-branded merchandise. CHARACTER LICENSING FROM MEDIAFREAKS http://www.media-freaks.com/services/character-licensing Character Farm Pte Ltd and Mediafreaks Cartoon Pte Ltd are affiliate companies of Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, both dedicated to producing quality appealing characters for cartoon animation content and licensing purposes. Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 20
  • 21. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business We design and create our characters with a few key criteria in mind: 1) They must be easily adaptable for licensing and merchandising purposes 2) They must appeal to as many cultures and mass markets as possible to maximize returns and leverage for our partners 3) They must be unique and be able to stand out amongst the vast competition of cartoon characters out in the market. 4) Most of our characters are focused on the cute genre and are thus very suitable for female and children merchandise. 5) Our characters are usually supported through some form of medium that reaches to the mass markets, such as a cartoon animated series, internet broadcast contents or mobile phone contents. Ever since our characters were available for licensing opportunities, we have struck several successful deals with licensees and agents from America, Europe, Japan and other parts of the world. We welcome enquiries from interested parties who are keen to discuss licensing possibilities. Please contact us at info@media-freaks.com. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES THAT CAN BENEFIT THROUGH CARTOON CHARACTER LICENSING http://www.media-freaks.com/services/character-licensing Nurseries If you run a nursery or a childcare centre, you might want to consider licensing the rights to use an endearing cartoon character to be your brand mascot. Having an identifiable brand with a cute cartoon character for a mascot will really make kids fall in love with your establishment. And if you Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 21
  • 22. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business run your business right, you can later leverage on the brand recognition the cartoon character has created for you to develop a franchise. Credit Cards Corporate looking credit cards are boring. They might be suitable for corporate folks, but how about the younger population? University and even college students are finding the ability to earn decent money even before graduation these days and many of them can afford to own a credit card. At this age, it is safe to say that they would prefer a cool or 'kewl'looking card as opposed to the corporate-looking one. The clever usage of a suitable cartoon character on a credit card can do wonders for its application rate as proven by Asian countries like Hongkong, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. The same principle can be applied too to membership cards for stores selling merchandise catering to such a demography. Books Whether you are writing a storybook for kids, a puzzle game book, a music training book, a book on parental guidance, or even a self-help guide for adults, consider licensing a cartoon character. Cartoon characters don't always have to look childish or cute. They can also look quirky and different (think the Simpsons). Use the right character for the right product, and for the right demography. You can't go wrong with that. The thing is, books that have a strong identity sell better, and what better way to do that than using a suitable character to help you establish that identity? As an author, you can look forward to establishing a book series using the character as a series mascot if you plan ahead and your first book sells well enough. Greeting Cards Cartoon characters work very well on products that carry a message and greeting cards is one such product. Pretty pictures of sceneries are just so passé. Since greeting cards are meant to convey a message and warm the heart, why not have a character with the right appeal and attitude do the job? Clothing and Apparels If you are launching a new clothing or apparels line for kids or young adults, you might want to consider using cartoon characters to improve the aesthetic quality and brand appeal of your merchandise. A suitable character with the right look for your product can really sky-rocket its sales. Toys, Novelties and Stationery There is an increasing number of toys, novelties and stationery designed for tweens and young adults flooding the market. Innovation and aesthetic cuteness are the key factors driving sales for these merchandise. For the cute factor, nothing beats a cartoon character. CONCLUSION This marks the end of this e-book. Thank you for reading it. I hope that it has been useful in giving you some ideas on how to employ animation for your next marketing campaign or important presentation. I also hope that you’ve benefited from my sections on Character Licensing. Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 22
  • 23. True Case Studies On How Animation Can Help Grow A Business Remember, if the companies discussed above can succeed with using 3D animation and Character Licensing to sell their products and services, you can too. Please contact Mediafreaks at info@media-freaks.com to discuss your animation and character licensing needs. You can also visit us at www.media-freaks.com to see more examples of animation projects we have produced for our clients. Copyright @ Mediafreaks Pte Ltd, 2008. All rights reserved. 23