Blast from the Past mines the back catalogue of Applied Arts Magazine to revive articles from years gone by. It’s our attempt at bringing to light the figures, firms and events that shaped the Canadian visual communications industry. Revisiting the stories and giants of yesteryear gives us an appreciation of where we came from and, perhaps, an indication of where we’re heading.
This feature article looked at the rise of animation in television commercials in the early 1990s – cartoons aren’t just for kids anymore! It was published in the April/May 1993 issue of the magazine.
Try drawing the line between what is and isn’t animation in TV commercials these days — from the slightly skewed to the seriously wonky — and darned if your eyes don’t start to blur. No longer strictly confined to the kiddie realm, this populist eye candy has never before taken so many forms, boasted higher production values or charmed as wide an audience. From high-energy, in-your-face drawings to elaborate 3-D constructs and painterly pastiches, animators are mixing media with abandon, whether they’re flogging cereal, cold remedies, beer or sanitary napkins.
Worlds collide: live action melds seamlessly with traditional two-dimensional cel drawings, and 2-D with 3-D; latex puppets come to life through stop motion; cookies glance off TV screens like hockey pucks; animated characters play with real fire; and paper cutouts eat with real spoons. High-tech or low, painterly or minimalist, the common denominator is strong ideas bolstered by even stronger visuals aimed at cutting through the clutter.