3D animation
Digitally generated grey cubes floating

By Nic Wiederhold

Every business needs an edge that helps it get its marketing message across and distinguishes it from the competition. Because so many innovative products and services are launched each year, it is difficult to get consumer attention, have a distinctive brand look, and gain market share.

One of the most effective visual marketing tools is 3D animation. Research has shown that animation has a strong effect on the cognitive processes of human beings. Animation that is well designed and attractive evokes positive emotions, increases attention span, improves content recall, and enhances brand awareness.

3D animation is used extensively to market products on television, on the Internet, and at conferences and conventions. Companies that make good use of 3D animation do so because it is dynamic, interesting and attractive, and most of all because it creates a memorable impact.

3D Animation in Consumer Advertising

Here is a quick quiz to help convince you. See if you can name the type of animal or insect that is the corporate mascot for these products or companies:

  1. Energizer batteries
  2. Geico insurance
  3. Nasonex
  4. Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes (hint: His name is Tony.)
  5. Lunesta


  1. Bunny
  2. Gecko
  3. Bee
  4. Tiger
  5. Butterfly

What do all of these mascots have in common? While some have been around long enough that they were created in 2D animation, they have been created using 3D animation in the newest television advertisements.

The pink Energizer bunny is so effective that Energizer sued a competitor, Duracell, which began using a different pink bunny to market its batteries long before Energizer but lost its trademark rights to use the bunny in the U.S.

Geico’s use of a gecko plays off the similar pronunciation, as well as the character’s personality. That is another reason why 3D animation is so effective: It allows a company to give the mascot any personality desired. Plus, the mascot never gets tired of the job, and never asks for a pay raise.

Nasonex, a nasal spray, uses a 3D animation of a bee, with an accent provided by actor Antonio Banderas, who does the voiceover. In one commercial, the bee sneezes and complains to a flower that his allergies cause congestion. An allergic bee is easy to remember.

Tony the Tiger, used by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, is one of the most memorable mascots, along with his catchphrase, “They’re Grrreat!”

Lunesta, a sleep-aid product, uses a translucent butterfly as a mascot. This ethereal creature, made with 3D animation, is angelic, calm and peaceful — the precise feelings one wants to experience in order to get a perfect night’s sleep.

3D Animation for Business-to-Business Marketing Efforts

Using 3D animation is also an excellent way to market products and/or services to business clients, especially if the message that must be conveyed is complex and there is no way to demonstrate the concept in reality.

An example of this is demonstrating the mechanism of action (MOA) for a pharmaceutical drug. The scientific process is complicated, and a written description must be long and extremely detailed. However, 3D animation is an excellent medium to use to show the MOA in an easily understood way.

Other Uses of 3D Animation as a Sales Tool

3D animation also provides the ability to:

  • Use cutaways to show the interior of products.
  • Demonstrate a prototype, so a company can get feedback before production begins.
  • Create unique presentations that make a company be seen as contemporary and innovative.
  • Explain things that the naked eye cannot see, such as microscopic activities.
  • Use historical characters and/or imaginary places to make the message more interesting.
  • Create interesting storylines that resonate with the target customers.

Research on responses to 3D animation found it has a significant positive impact on viewers. 3D animation is useful for many purposes and should be considered as an element in any marketing campaign. Viewers think that 3D animation is grrreat!

Nic Wiederhold is the owner of Ghost Productions. He and his team create 3D animations that can help explain complex new procedures and products.