Healthcare animation videos work for public health campaigns.

These condoms are slow dancing inside a bowl.*

A fashionista condom? You bet! There is no other platform other than healthcare animation that can show how condoms live and breathe. Imagine animated condoms dancing, walking the dog, being fashionistas?

The dose of the unreal creates an impact and makes a connection to the often dull, dry and tedious clinical information in healthcare brochures and manuals. Thankfully, the surreal brings a sense of lightness to difficult and controversial topics. Moreover, generic characters tend to be relatable to the public. These make the use of healthcare animation more ideal in public health campaigns.

The Toronto Public Health (TPH) couldn’t agree more when it launched its Life in the BowlcondomTo campaign early this year with a series of healthcare animation videos to stress safe sex. The animated videos show what it’s like to be a condom inside the TPH waiting to be picked from a bowl. They are seen walking the dog, dancing or worrying about fashion trends before an unknown hand picks them out of the bowl. The videos run for 40-44 seconds.

This is one of the animated videos in the series:

The message is deep though not explicit. Torontonians are expected to get it. Wearing condoms decreases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV or unplanned pregnancy.  The campaign is intended to keep top-of-the mind awareness for something that is considered common knowledge.

Healthcare animation in public health campaigns – some history

  • Walt Disney produced “The Story of Menstruation,” a healthcare animation produced in 1946 for health education students in the US.
  • Warner Brothers and Chuck Jones produced the animation “So Much for So Little” in 1949 as an explainer video for the US National Health Insurance Program
  • The UK government used healthcare animation in 1948 for its explainer video on the National Health Service agency. The animation showed how the NHS will benefit the main character Charley and his family.

Today healthcare animation is used in different countries for public health campaigns.  For instance John Hopkins Center for Communication Programs has produced several animation videos to address public health issues like HIV/AIDs, Malaria, Influenza, H1N1, family planning and mental health, among others.

Another example is this World Health Organization animation video that talks about a man’s black dog named Depression.

Benefits of using healthcare animation

Healthcare animation enhances consumers’ literacy. It bridges knowledge gaps that are not achievable for texts, photos and even live action videos.

For example, it will require more resources for a live-action video to feature depression than the animated video produced by the WHO. These resources would include location setting, actors, production crew and maybe health professionals for expert interviews, among others.

For a taste of Twisted Frame‘s animation skills check this 7-second intro video:

Using live-action video to portray singing and dancing condoms screams in-authenticity – something that today’s millennial don’t care for.

You will also note the minimalism in the CondomTo campaign videos. The advantage of this is it’s always easier to eliminate distracting backgrounds in animation to focus on the key message.

Animated videos are also sticky when it comes to promoting health and well-being. For instance, the 2017 study of Lecky et al revealed that patients found the animation videos on antibiotics use “intergenerational, informative and educational.” Between 47-55% of patients retained key messages in the videos. Positive differences were also observed on behaviors related to antibiotic use.

Meanwhile, a study from Aarhus University in Denmark  showed that patients who saw pre-op and post-op animation videos on hip surgery were less anxious about the surgery compared to patients who didn’t see the animation. Healthcare professionals were also less pressured when they dealt with patients who saw the videos.

Share the Air animation video produced by Twisted Frame 

Flexibility in healthcare animation extends to budgets. Healthcare animation can be customized to meet budgetary constraints. Creators can always work with a small budget. However, with bigger budgets producers can take consumers on a truly unique journey. Go big on budget and you have the creative juices pumping!

Additionally, animation videos allow creative licenses that live action videos don’t.

And yes, animation videos work for both commercial and non-commercial healthcare campaigns.*O.Montelibano