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Exploring 3D Animation on Social

Creative Strategist, Charlie Foster, pulls together some of Adland's most exciting 3D executions on social and explores why they're so effective.


Charlie Foster

7 Sep 2020

Have you ever watched a piece of content and thought, how the f*ck did they do that? From surreal landscapes, satisfying objects and lifelike movements, Adland has the capabilities to bring one's imagination to life. Yes, we’re talking about 3D animation. We’re going to show you a few effective and imaginative cases of this technique in some of our favourite social-first executions. To do so, we've broken down our thinking into two sections. Creative that uses 3D to recreate reality, and creative which takes us way beyond it. Buckle up, it’s about to get weird.

Re-create reality.

To re-create reality is simple; through 3D animation we can digitally clone any object. From items of clothing, a whole supermarket aisle and even water. This has given us the ability to place any product in any situation. Perfect if you need to ‘drive consideration of purchase’ or if you just want to show your product in an interesting and unique way.

Let’s kickstart it with Adidas. For the release of their (coincidentally) 3D printed trainers, they wanted to immerse their audience inside the reticular structure of the new innovative sole. Adidas knew that simple stills and close-ups wouldn’t do this trainer justice. So they cloned the structure of the trainer with 3D animation, immersing it in luminescent slime to give it the futuristic feel it deserves.

Whilst Adidas created this futuristic world to represent their innovative trainer, Absolut vodka used 3D to build worlds around the silhouette of their bottle. This infamous organic campaign is a perfect example of ‘distinctive cues’. By placing the silhouette into cultural events, from Christmas to Computer Security Day, Absolut has built up a bank of unique visuals to keep their audience engaged throughout the year.


Rimowa, on the other hand, uses 3D to show off multiple benefits of their suitcases. Using coral to represent the customisation and hurling rocks to show their sturdiness. A fantastic example of using 3D animation to show the product benefits in a creative way.

Finally, let’s look at Proper (formally Propercorn). They recreated reality through the mesmerising dance of kernel to corn which is super eye-catching. Obviously, this would have been difficult, if not impossible, to shoot in real life but it's a small task for a designer and 3D software.

Beyond Reality.

As we all know, two of the most challenging hurdles social has to overcome is a) grab attention and b) get the message across as quickly and as simply as possible. When thinking beyond reality, we can use 3D animation to solve these challenges by creating visuals that stand out from the crowd and create a new world that makes the message more digestible.

For example, Nike used 3D animation to grab their audience’s attention with jaw-dropping visuals and animated movements that bring to life their infamous Airmax range. Designing playful bubbles to represent the air bubble of the trainer and jittery movements to show the youthfulness of the brand, these are incredibly engaging visuals that are sure to grab and hold your attention.

Slack on the other hand, who don’t have a physical product per se, used 3D animation to articulate their creative proposition of ‘organised spaces for everything’. By representing people as their branded balls and pills, they have shown how their product streamlines communication between teams, colleagues and clients. A prime example of thinking beyond reality to articulate your USPs when you don’t even have a physical product.

3D is also the perfect tool to create unique worlds inside a mobile format. Take Malteser for example, they thought beyond reality for the release of their new mint buttons. Creating a surreal Willy Wonker-esque production line. Not only does this reflect the lighthearted nature of the chocolate brand, but the visuals are really fun to watch.

In conclusion, we can see that 3D has the wow factor, with visuals being broken down into two sections. Ones that re-create reality by digitally cloning any object in any situation, perfect for showing your product in a creative and unique way. Whilst there are those that are beyond reality, creating abstract visuals to hook the viewer and to make the message more digestible.