That’s right. The Fifteen4 animation team, a crucial group within our Baltimore agency, won a District 2 Gold ADDY for Ciena’s The Adaptive Network launch video. And that means beating out some pretty great work from agencies in New York and Philadelphia.

Check out the new animation reel, then read on to learn how the team creates award-winning work!

How does our Baltimore team create award-winning animation?

By believing in the 5 items below… (WARNING: What follows are very strong opinions.)

  1. Animation should look amazing, period. Whether it’s sophisticated 3D modeling or a simple 2D motion design, there is always a way to provide great creative direction and elegant design while staying within a budget.
  2. Animation should be branded content. Art direction and style needs to play nicely with the brand you’re serving. The tone of voice should resonate with your client’s prospects. While this point oughta be obvious, the marketplace offers some shortcuts that, in my experience, aren’t effective at bringing ROI. Prefab cheapo content doesn’t tell a brand story. Whiteboard animations are passé (and generally expensive). Some white-labeled content might be better than nothing, but why spend any money at all if your effort doesn’t bring a return?
  3. Animation (like any content) should tell a story. ‘Nuff said.
  4. Talent and experience just buy you more. Since more schools have added a BFA in animation and design, there is more talent in the market. Learn to spot it and pair it up with experienced pros. The result? Better work, faster and for less money. Without both talent and experience, it’s tough to fake it, and even tougher to deliver projects on time and on budget.
  5. Align on pricing. Clients–it’s competitive out there, so just tell your creative vendor what your budget is. They want the work. Most of the time you have a number in mind or a number you can’t exceed. You’ll get more bang for your buck if you just say it than if your vendor pitches the moon and loses the work because you only had the budget to get to Newark. Here’s to you from all of us: Tell us your budget and we’ll cram as much value into that scope as we possibly can. If the budget is too small, we’ll tell you up front.

Is this a commercial? Yeah. It’s a commercial for investing in effective content.

Sure, at our best Fifteen4 does animation better than anyone on the eastern seaboard (IMHO). But there are other great companies around too. We wish them well. Our real competition is the race to the bottom, the belief that branded content isn’t important, and the failure to see that often money “saved” is money wasted.

Disagree? Let’s talk about it.

Steve Smallman

Founder & CEO

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