Animations Tackling Tricky Topics

10 Jan 2016

Recently, we’ve noticed an emerging trend of animations being used to tell sensitive stories that might not otherwise be able to be told.  Animation provides a medium of expression that is suited to telling these stories as it can be used to create genderless, raceless and classless characters.  It can also create visual representations of things which it would not be possible to see otherwise.

To show you what we mean, here are a couple of animations we think demonstrate how great animation is at dealing with tricky topics:

Amnesty International – ‘Use Your Power’

This short animation was created to explain how the Amnesty Urgent Action Network works.  Using animation allows Amnesty to easily create and develop a fictional situation in a way that live action video does not.  This enables them to demonstrate the Network in a clear and effective way.

Amnesty International – Land of Make Believe

In this clever animation, Amnesty capitalise on animation’s reputation as a medium for telling fairy tales.  By evoking this tradition the animation emphasises the idea that people think Myanmar’s human rights abuses that could only happen in a ‘Land of Make Believe’ and so implicitly emphasizes how important it is that people take action.

Greenpeace – Fishing policy

Greenpeace use this animation to explain the difficulties faced by British fishermen.  Animation allows clear visualisation of things that could not be demonstrated by live action footage.  For instance it visually demonstrates the power held by the head of the NFFO and the influence this has on the fishermen.

WWF – Living in Harmony with Nature

This WWF animation is effective in demonstrating the work the WWF undertakes and why it is necessary.  Through using animation the WWF are able to avoid using harrowing footage but still create empathy for the animals affected.

The Guardian – Slavery, Murder and Suicide in Thailand’s Fishing Industry

This animation tells a story about the darker side of Thailand’s fishing industry that it would be impossible to express with live action footage.  Animation enables a scene that cannot be filmed to be brought to life and disguises the identities of the contributors without compromising the visual experience.

The Guardian – Legal Aid Superheroes

The use of animation to explain the impact of cuts to Legal Aid Funding is very powerful.  It allows for the creation of a caricature of Legal Aid workers as superheroes that effectively demonstrates the importance of the work they perform.


Essentially all of these animations, although telling a range of stories, are utilizing the same benefits of animation to help tell their message.  Using animation allows stories to be told in a clear and concise way which can be easily understood by audiences.  The visual expression of stories through animation enables stories to be told that may not otherwise have been heard.  All in all, we think that animation is a pretty wonderful way to deal with these issues and we would love to see it become even more common in years to come.