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The 21 best explainer videos – a year in review
What makes good content today? Storytelling? Optimized SEO? Call to Actions? Or pictures? Somehow a little bit of everything if you want to stand out from the crowd and stay competitive. Our attention span has dropped to 8 seconds and our demands are getting higher and higher. Static and text-based content nowadays receives little enthusiasm. Ah well, and classical advertising that holds products in front of our noses somehow triggers a surge of aggression, right?
At this point, explainer videos have proven to be a power tool in content marketing in order to captivate viewers with visual storytelling and to illustrate necessary information in an original way. Don’t believe us? Then let us enchant you with the magic of images in this article. We will take you into the world of pros and tell you everything you need to know about this topic.
By the way, would you like to know who is behind our creative heads? Stay tuned, we present you our Cleverclip Pros in the end of this article.
What’s an explainer video?
Explainer videos summarize the most important information about the products and services of a brand and a brief and concise manner. Visual storytelling packs complex information and dry facts into vivid stories so that viewers are addressed on an emotional level. The following is an overview of the most important advantages:
SEO & Shares
Web pages with video content generally get higher rankings in search engines than text-based content alone. In addition, video content can be used to achieve a 55% increase in the number of visitors while at the same time increasing the dwell time. Videos are also more often shared on social networks and therefore increase the interaction rate and reach.
Simple, short and captivating
Good explainer videos compress product offers in 60-120 seconds and thus enable all relevant information to be conveyed before the viewer has lost interest. The combination of visual elements combined with music and a narrative voice attracts attention from the very first second.
Higher conversion rates
Explainer videos offer countless fields of application: Presenting products or services, explaining new processes, employee training, company presentations or trade fair appearances – completely independent of the industry.
Targeted customer approach
Whether on Webpage, Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook or Newsletter: Explanation videos can be used on different communication channels and can thus be optimally adapted to the respective target group.
Animation: Style and Techniques
- 2D Animation
- 2.5D Animation
- 3D Animation
- Whiteboard and Legetrick- Stil
- Stop Motion
The classic among the explainer videos. The whiteboard animation is characterised by a clear structure, reduced design and a largely colourless design. The individual illustrations are created in front of the viewer.
Laying trick style
A special form of whiteboard animation in which illustrations drawn on paper and cut out are moved on a flat background.
The 2D animation uses flat characters and spaces, versatile and suitable for almost all areas.
Entertaining, breathtaking and probably the most sophisticated form of animation: Three-dimensional images captivate with their realistic presentation and creative freedom.
This is a mixture of the two previously discussed styles. 3D elements are embedded in a 2D environment. But you can also make 2D elements appear as 3D by cleverly using perspective and shadow.
In contrast to animation, the real film films actual movements in front of the camera. Instead of drawn characters, actors perform the script. Real films can also be used as a basic format, in which 2D and 3D elements are added.
Stop Motion is a special type of animation that combines live footage with traditional character animation. The object is photographed, then slightly moved and photographed again. When the individual images are arranged in a row, they create the illusion of movement.
Typography uses animated text to present the information. Moving texts combined with audio illustrate the information and help the audience better understand what is being said.
But what is the point of pure theory? “Show don’t tell” is our motto. Dive in into the world of explainer videos and be astonished yourself. From novelties to long time favorites – we present you the best explainer videos.
The 21 best explainer videos
1. Tinder – Invention of Together
2. Dectris AG – X-Ray spectroscopy
3. Transparent Paper Ltd – Sustainable packaging solutions
4. Slapstick- Augmented Reality App
5. Envoy – The Future of Work
6. DollarShaveClub – Our blades are f***ing great
7. Panorama9 – IT-Man
8. Monvia – Recruitment Video
9. Sherwin Williams – Paint Chips
10. CrazyEgg – animated Video
11. Hospush AG – Direct Communication
12. David Blaine – Spectacle of the Real
13. Microsoft – Hybrid Cloud Flexibility
14. Prescribe Wellness – Community Pharmacy
15. IV-Stelle Kanton Bern – Explainer video for insured once
16. Chipotle – Back to the Start
17. Wine Country Gift Baskets – Occasions
18. TechInsider – How deep is the Ocean?
19. SEF4KMU – Imagevideo Company Profile
20. Casper – Great Sleep
21. Swisscom – 60 years anniversary
1. Tinder – “Invention of Together”
Tinder takes us on a journey through time that presents the centuries-old hurdles in the search for the right partnership. The Tinder app finally makes it easier to date. A breathtaking and colorful diorama set with computer-generated 3D characters, in which every detail – from the right light positioning and shading to the materials – is perfectly staged.
Client: Tinder / Agency: Bucktv
2. Dectris AG – X-ray spectroscopy
X-ray spectroscopy made easily accessible for everyone. Despite a limited colour palette and very simple geometric shapes, the combination of all elements creates a very complex and impressive composition. The voiceover in combination with hashtags makes, helps us to understand technical vocabulary very easily.
Client: Dectris AG/ Agency: Cleverclip
3. Transparent Paper Ltd – Sustainable packaging solutions
Recycling processes and sustainable packaging sound like a relatively dry topic, but thanks to the right storytelling even this topic is brought to life. A harmonious colour palette, sympathetic 2D characters, vector graphics and a pleasant narrative voice visualize the recycling process in an exciting way.
Client: Transparent Paper Ltd/ Agency: Cleverclip
4. Slapstick – Augmented Reality App
With the Augmented Reality App stickers can be “slapped” into the real world and spice up every social media post. And that’s exactly what Slapstick shows us here: Realworld and animation are combined, making the video very interactive and showing how much fun the app can bring into life.
Client: Slapstick App / Agency: Bucktv
5. Envoy – “The future of work”
Envoy presents a vision of a better workplace and proves how you can take the viewer on a visual journey completely without a narrative voice. An enormously powerful explainer video based on keyframe animation and 3D elements in a 2D environment.
The cohesive storyline and powerful illustration with original characters and pleasant colors make this video to a memorable experience.
Client: Envoy / Agency: Oddfellows.tv
6. DollarShaveClub – “Our blades are f***ing great”
A pinch of humor and irony can get a lot of attention. The real film combines everything – anti-jokes, lots of nonsense, bears, huge American flags – and a lot of storytelling in just 90 seconds. With success: The target group could be reached effectively and the video went viral.
Client: Dollar Shave Club / Agency: Self-production
7. Panorama – “IT- Man”
Enormously informative and humorous: even a dry IT topic can be brought to life by storytelling and many gags. In the style of a retro computer game, we are guided through pixel-art animation, while the product’s advantages are explained to us in an entertaining way.
Client: Panorama9 / Agency: Barqvideo
8. Monvia – “Recruitment Video”
A successful example of how an impressive animation can be created purely through shapes, colors and text. This recruitment video uses abstract and colorful forms, which do not cross out the emotional theme and yet do not forget the seriousness. In a nutshell, with no characters at all, the viewer is informed about what Monvia as an employer has to offer.
Client: Monvia / Agency: Cleverclip
9. Sherwin Williams – “Paint Chips”
Not a classic explainer video, but based on similarly powerful principles while impressing through captivating storytelling. Sherwin Williams takes us on a fascinating visual journey into a colourful world, which captivates above all through the creative use of 3D animation. A breathtaking production with real implementation and elaborate PBR workflows, which should definitely not be missing in our best-of list.
Client: Sherwin Williams / Agency: Bucktv
10. CrazyEgg – CrazyEgg animated video
The video impresses especially through its humour and an expressive narrative voice. The product is shown in action, integrates a “Call to Action” and uses a sympathetic main protagonist who guides us through all applications. You don’t have to be technically gifted to understand the main message in this video. The meaning and purpose of an explainer video are therefore fulfilled: To explain the message vividly.
Client: CrazyEgg / Agency: Demo Duck
11. Hospush AG – Direct Communication
A hospital stay is not a particularly pleasant topic for anyone. But thanks to Hospush it gets at least a little sweetened. The video captivates above all with its simplicity: An easily understandable plot with a discreet colour palette and likeable characters appeal to the viewer on an emotional level.
Client: HosPush AG/ Agency: Cleverclip
12. David Blaine – “Spectacle of the Real”
When keyframe animation, motion design and 3D elements meet, a spectacle is indeed created. “Spectacle of the Real” proves how Liquid Motion can take you on a captivating journey. The dark colours, the narrative voice and the animation – everything is in perfect harmony with the theme.
Client: David Blaine / Agency: Bucktv
13. Microsoft – “Hybrid Cloud flexibility”
A great example of how 3D effects can be created with the right staging of depths. Microsoft sums up the main purpose of an explainer video: to illustrate a complex topic briefly, concisely and comprehensibly for everyone.
Client: Microsoft, Cloud / Agency: EPC Group.net
14. Prescribe Wellness – “Community Pharmacy”
An impressively animated set with sympathetic characters. The set uses mainly 2D graphics in combination with some textures. The individual transitions are first class and convey a certain lightness. The narrative voice, colours and music are in perfect harmony with the theme and explain all the necessary information in just 30 seconds.
Client: PrescribeWellness / Agency: Unknown
15. IV – Stelle Kanton Bern – “Explainer video for insured once”
Health problems caused by incorrect exposure at the workplace – a common topic today. The easily comprehensible plot thus enables the viewer to identify directly with the main protagonist. Dynamic transitions combined with appealing characters address the viewer on an emotional level.
Client: IV-Stelle Kanton Bern / Agency: Cleverclip
16. Chipotle – “Back to the Start”
Absolutely without a narrative voice, Chipotle manages to build up an emotional bond with the viewer. The colours, the music and the stop-motion-like animation are perfectly thought-out, so that the viewer is drawn into the spell of the story. An acoustic version of Coldplay’s “The Scientist”, played by Willie Nelson, sets the tone for the entire video.
Client: Chipotle / Agency: Unknown
17. Wine Country Gift Baskets – “Occasions”
Appreciation doesn’t need an occasion. In just over a minute, the video conveys a warm message and shows how to give a little joy to the loved ones. Particularly interesting is the use of different viewing angles through the split screen. The faces of the characters are only revealed at the end when the split screen disappears. The impressive staging of light and shadow allows a very real representation of the story, despite 2D visualizations.
Client: Wine Country Gift Basket / Agency: VeracityColab
18. TechInsider – “How deep does the Ocean go?”
In the form of an animated info graphic, this video shows us how captivating a lesson can be. From a technical point of view, it consists mainly of flat 2D-graphics without too elaborate effects. But thanks to the dynamic storytelling into the depths of the ocean, the attention is held throughout the video.
Client: TechInsider / Agency: Unknown
19. SEF4KMU – Imagevideo Company Profile
This video is the best example of how effective an explainer video can be. A complex financial service provider is explained playfully with the help of Pixel-Art animation. In the style of a computer game, the viewer is guided through the individual steps and gets to know the most important advantages of the company. Entertaining, original and memorable.
Client: SEF4KMU / Agency: Cleverclip
20. Casper – “Great Sleep”
The video demonstrates important factors in choosing a good mattress. The video becomes interesting by embedding a real person in an animated 2D environment. This leads the viewer into a visual dream world.
Client: Casper/ Agency : Oddfellows.tv
21. Swisscom – 60 Years anniversary
Although the video exceeds the generally recommended length for an explainer video, the viewer is taken on an exciting and informative journey through time. In terms of content, the moments are placed in a historical context and accompanied by contemporary music. Whether collages, vector graphics or colours, the individual elements are perfectly coordinated and merge everything together.
Client: Swisscom / Agency: Cleverclip
How to become an amazing pro
Would you like to create breathtaking and captivating explainer videos? Then some important ingredients should not be missing in your formula. Here is the ultimate secret recipe for an explainer video à la chef.
The basic ingredients
Depending on the type of animation, certain characters must be created. Characters are the heroes of the story with which the target group can identify. They create an emotional bond between the narrator and the audience.
Especially with complex products, a narrative voice can be very helpful to support the images and make them easy to understand. The tone of the voice should match the brand image as well as the video content.
Music and Sound
Similar to Voice Over, the music should be carefully matched to the brand image and the content in order to create the necessary emotions.
The right blend of spices
Brevity is the soul of wit
The video should be max. 2 min to hold the attention of the audience. Therefore, focus only on the most relevant information.
Storytelling instead of classic ads
Instead of pure facts you should move the audience emotionally through visual storytelling. Even if you present a product or a service, always make sure that you emphasize the advantages that the customer can gain by using the product instead of pure product features.
The explanation video can improve the results in the search engine. However, the SEO should also be perfectly optimized for this. Relevant keywords, alt-text, title, description and tags – all this should not be missing.
The right quality
In order to stand out from the competition and reach the target group, an explainer video should be produced really first-class and be well planned down to the last detail. Bad explainer videos can even damage the brand image.
A call to action
Invite the audience to take action and describe how the target group should proceed.
Who’s behind the Cleverclip pros?
What would be a “best-of list” if it were designed completely without expert advice? At this point a big shout-out to some of our talented creatives who were involved in this article and “were allowed” to support me with my work ;). But who exactly is behind the creative minds?
Motion Designer at Cleverclip with many years of experience in various industries. Passionate traveler and photographer, oh and videogames are his favorite sport 😉
Also known as Champu Chinito with many years of experience as an Art Director. Today, storyboards, style frames and visual design are his specialties at Cleverclip.
“Telling stories in moving images is what I love the most”. As a motion designer, Jakub has already produced a short film that has been shown at various festivals around the globe.
Motion designer at Cleverclip with a great passion for old and forgotten cartoons. Why? Because they are based on completely different types of animation that have been forgotten over time, but have never lost their unique magic. “This encourages my creativity in a very special way”.
Cleverclip’s Visual Artist. Drawing is her true passion and always looking for new ways to tell stories through illustrations. “They have this incomparable power to depict abstract concepts, risky perspectives or proportions as they would never be found in real life!”
Motion designer who focuses on pre-production at Cleverclip. The creation of storyboards, animatics and designs are his main tasks, so that other motion designers have everything they need to get started with their animation work. “Projects where the client is really open to suggestions and makes spontaneous decisions are what I love most”.
Graphic artist and visual artist with a wide range of tasks: from photo retouching, print design, scribble animation to storyboard creation, basically everything connected with creativity. “Creativity is also reflected in my hairstyle: I have dreadlocks that allow me to experiment with the hairstyle”.
Graphic designer at Cleverclip and responsible for the spectacular illustration of this article. Bringing things to life with the help of animations in an emotional video is his great passion. Travel and photography follow in second place.
Would you like to get to know our entire Cleverclip team? Then take a quick look at our complete gang of rascals here.
Ready for the perfect explainer video? Well, the implementation may be a bit more complex, because an explainer video requires good planning and elaborate production. In order to get the hoped added value, a cooperation with an experienced and professional video agency is highly recommended. What does the future hold for explainer videos? Click here for the article “Explainer video Trends 2020”.