15 best animated ads and why they worked

best animated ads

In the world of advertising, animation has a way of bringing stories to life, making them more vibrant, more engaging, and more memorable than just about any other video format.  

Think about it: what’s more exciting than creative storytelling where anything – literally anything – goes? With animated video ads, the possibilities are endless. You can create any character. In any world. In any animation style. The only limit is your own imagination.

And it’s not just about being eye-catching and visually exciting. Animated ads appeal to a broad audience – from toddlers to grandparents – tugging at heartstrings, making us laugh, and delivering a clear brand message that sticks in our minds.  

Ready to see how it’s done? Here are 15 of the most creative, heartwarming, and downright delightful animated commercials ever. 

Let’s dive straight in and explore the best animated ads, and why they worked.

1. John Lewis – The Bear and the Hare

Renowned for its heartwarming Christmas ads, John Lewis pulled out all the stops with its 2013 animated commercial, The Bear and the Hare. This iconic animated ad, featuring (you guessed it) a bear and a hare uses traditional, hand-drawn animation to add emotional depth and really tug at the heartstrings of its audience. 

Viewers young and old are transported into the pages of a storybook, with a heartwarming narrative and the dulcet tones of Lily Allen all coming together in perfect harmony to make us feel nostalgic, joyful, and all warm and fuzzy inside. 

2. Coca-Cola – Happiness Factory

Another iconic animated ad from another iconic brand, Happiness Factory by Coca-Cola takes you on an exciting journey through a Coca-Cola vending machine. The magical  world inside the machine is colorful, whimsical, and vibrant, filled with fantastical 3D animated creatures who work to bottle and chill each drink before it’s delivered to the outside world. 

With a ceremony worthy of the Olympics, no less. 

This animated commercial is part of Coca-Cola’s wider marketing strategy to associate their brand with happiness and positivity. And I think we can all agree that it definitely does that!

Discover more of the best Coca-Cola ads.

3. Google Android – Be Together. Not the Same

This animated ad from Google Android delivers a powerful message about friendship and acceptance. In the animated video, we see charmingly animated characters representing rock, paper, and scissors overcome their differences and become friends, despite the odds being against them. 

Android uses this commercial to join the social conversation about bullying and the importance of unity in diversity. The commercial inspires viewers to have courage and compassion, and positions the global brand as one that cares and wants to make a difference. 

Accompanied by upbeat music – St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) by John Parr, if you were wondering – the commercial conveys a meaningful message in a way that’s simple yet impactful. And not a phone in sight. 

4. Cadbury Dairy Milk – Aliens

Cadbury goes techno with its 2016 animated commercial, featuring quirky, colorful alien characters who discover Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars for the first time. Their delight and fascination with the delicious chocolate causes them to dance along to a fun, Crazy Frog-esque soundtrack that’s guaranteed to stick in your head for far longer than you’d like. 

Little did Cadbury know that the animated video would become an internet sensation and develop into a viral dance challenge. 

It’s fun. It’s creative. And it’s suitably lighthearted for both the product and the intended audience. 

5. Aldi – Kevin the Carrot 

Another Christmas ad to make it into our rankings, this animated commercial from German supermarket Aldi is charming, funny, and full of festive cheer. The animated carrot (Kevin) has become somewhat of a household name, adored for his adventurous escapades, his sense of playfulness, and of course, his animation style. 

This animated ad, in particular, is reminiscent of classic Christmas tales, from the poetic storytelling to the traditional color grading, the cinematic music, and the happily ever after. 

All in all, it’s the perfect celebration of the simple pleasures and shared moments that make the season special.

6. Heinz – Baked beans ad

With its wide-eyed protagonist, twinkling piano soundtrack, and touching storyline, this animated video from Heinz appeals to the hearts and minds of viewers. 

The animated commercial video follows the story of Geoff – a young man with “a curious and unshakeable love for beans” who ends up as Head of Innovation at Heinz. As a bachelor, he designs a can of beans for one. In an attempt to woo, he designs a can for two. And with twins on the way, he designs a can for all the family. 

By following his story and seeing the presence of Heinz throughout, the audience is left associating the brand’s beans as a go-to product for every home.

7. Airbnb – Get an Airbnb

This animated ad from Airbnb is all about the details. The eye-catching miniature sets (based on real-life Airbnbs) are reminiscent of Polly Pockets, with a clever blend of 2D and 3D animations to transport viewers to an animated yet believable holiday destination. 

This animated video is part of a wider ad campaign, highlighting Airbnb’s strengths as identified through close conversations with guests and hosts. With the help of the no-nonsense script, Airbnb positions itself as the obvious choice for holidaymakers. 

8. Emirates – Department of Family Travel 

Emirates’ animated commercial is a tale of two halves. The first half represents every parent’s nightmare: a noisy soundscape of bored children. Mess. Disruption. Irritated passengers.

The second half? The solution. Flying with Emirates. 

Using a range of engaging animation styles and high-quality, colorful visuals, the animated video ad grabs and retains the viewers attention. Its messaging is targeted and clear, it strikes the balance between informative and entertaining, and it reinforces the Emirates brand as a thoughtful, customer-focused, and family-friendly airline.

9. Kean Juices – Happiest Moment of the Day

This mixed-media-style animated commercial is quirky and high energy, featuring a wide range of abstract animations where nothing is quite as it seems. 

Bright colors. Quick transitions. Elvis-inspired cockerel. You’re not quite sure what you’ve just watched but the weirdness of it all is super-memorable, uplifting, and – dare I say it – juicy.

The fun animated video starts and ends with a picture of the juice carton, ensuring that the product itself sticks in your mind amidst all the mayhem!

10. Wimbledon – In Pursuit of Greatness

This clever (and might I add, visually stunning) animated ad for Wimbledon celebrates not only the history of tennis, but the history of animation styles. The animated video shows the evolution of Wimbledon through a single continuous tennis rally, and as each new era begins, the illustration style changes too.

This helps to take viewers on a journey through time, capturing the spirit and legacy of the legendary tournament along the way. 

The creators of this ad made the bold choice not to include a voiceover. But the music-only backdrop proved to be a brilliant choice, creating an emotionally charged atmosphere that keeps you gripped right up to the last second. 

11. Headspace – Say Hello to Headspace

Sometimes, the best animated commercial videos are the simplest. As this animated explainer video from Headspace shows. The straightforward video explains how the app works and how it can help its users. The script is clear and well-written, and the 2D cartoon animation is fun, eye-catching, and in keeping with the app. 

The simplicity is perfect for this brand, as it goes hand in hand with the topics of mindfulness and meditation, and gives viewers a clear picture of what they can expect if they follow the call to action to download the app.

12. Oreo – Wonderfilled

This happy, positive, and lighthearted animated video from Oreo is wonder-filled in every way. The colorful and dynamic visuals are eye-catching and engaging, appealing to children and adults alike. The music is upbeat and catchy – written and recorded by the electronic artist Owl City especially for the animated ad.

The entire video is light and uplifting, reminding us all that there is so much fun and wonder to be found in eating one of these world-famous cookies. And in sharing them far and wide.

Speaking of cookies, check out our roundup of the best cookie packaging designs (featuring Oreo, of course!)

13. Burger King – The Official Rebrand

When Burger King rebranded in 2021, they launched a new brand logo, new packaging, new uniforms, new everything. And the official rebrand intro video wraps up all the visual design aspects in a vibrant and entertaining animated ad. 

Unlike most of the other animated videos we’ve included in our roundup, this animated ad is very text-heavy. But that’s to be expected of a rebrand video, and while it could quickly get boring, it genuinely doesn’t thanks to the jazzy soundtrack and the fun and creative motion graphics.

Special shout out to their aptly named “Flame” sans font, too!

14. Duolingo – Duolingo in Three Words

Duolingo’s animated commercial does a great job of showing how Duolingo is free, fun, and effective (the three words it wants you to associate with the brand). Walking you through real-life scenarios like buying a croissant, visiting an art gallery, and getting a haircut, it shows that the app can genuinely help you to get by in the real world. 

The fun and playful animation is identical to that of the Duolingo app, helping to build brand awareness and familiarity with the style, the characters, and the gamification. I’m already hooked, but this video makes me love the app even more!

15. Starbucks – Why does Starbucks blend coffee?

The final video in our roundup of the best animated video ads is this simple yet effective offering from Starbucks. The legendary coffee brand uses a complementary color palette, smooth transitions, and 2D animations to tell the story of its coffee blends. 

With thoughtful sound design, a fine-tuned script, and simple storytelling, Starbucks effectively communicates its brand message and positions itself as a global expert in the world of coffee. 

Discover more of the best coffee ads of all time.

How to speed up feedback on your animated ads 

You’ve come up with your best idea yet. You’ve painstakingly designed and created an animated ad you’re proud of. Then you hit a brick wall.

A big feedback-shaped brick wall.

When you’ve got to get feedback and approval from a wide range of stakeholders, it can be a complete and utter nightmare. Radio silence. Conflicting comments. Missed deadlines. 

Enter Filestage. 

With a review and approval platform like Filestage, your review process basically runs itself. Simply upload your animated commercials and all associated files, invite reviewers, and let them all add feedback and discuss next steps in the comments. 

Key benefits of Filestage

  • Share unlimited files – Upload your animated videos, images, designs, documents, websites, interactive content, and audio files, all in one platform.
  • Get feedback in context – View and discuss feedback in one place so your stakeholders are always on the same page.
  • View your version history – Keep a record of every version and comment, so you can check everyone’s feedback has been met.
  • Log in from anywhere – Filestage works in your browser on any device, so you can keep things moving, wherever you are.
  • Invite unlimited reviewers – Share files and projects with as many people as you like. They won’t even need an account to add comments.
  • Set due dates – Keep your projects on track and meet every deadline. We’ll automatically send notifications to anyone you’re still waiting to hear from.
  • Approve files with one click – Make approvals easy for everyone and get a clear view of which files need changes.

Final thoughts

Animated advertising videos can bring your creative ideas to life and help you deliver your brand message in a fun, playful, and experimental way. And as you’ve seen from these examples of animated ads, the sky really is the limit!

Hopefully you’re now full of inspiration and ready to get started on your next animated advertising project. And if you’d like to see how Filestage can help streamline your review and approval process across all your marketing materials, you can start your free trial today.