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Creating Social Change: Animation Studios' Impact on Raising Awareness and Advocacy

Oct 27, 2023

Animation studios have long been recognized for their ability to entertain audiences with captivating stories and visually stunning imagery. However, in recent years, animation studios have also emerged as powerful tools of social change by leveraging the power of animation to raise awareness and advocate for important issues.

An example of using animation to raise awareness is when Jumbla collaborated with Wyndham City to create a captivating 2D video that highlights the significance of trees in our community. We wanted to emphasise how trees greatly impact our environment. Through the use of charming characters like a heroic tree and a family of birds, we aimed to captivate viewers' attention and showcase the numerous benefits that trees bring to our surroundings. To evoke hopefulness, we employed a vibrant color palette and paired it with upbeat music and sound design.

The tagline "One tree makes the world of difference" truly comes alive within our video as we demonstrate just how impactful one single tree can be on our planet's diversity and overall health. Working alongside Wyndham City, Jumbla set out on an important mission: raising awareness about trees in an innovative way. Together, we crafted a visually stunning 2D explainer video that showcases the immense impact that trees have on our environment.

Another notable example is Pixar Animation Studios, known for producing beloved films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Up. While these movies are undoubtedly entertaining for viewers of all ages, they also tackle complex themes that promote empathy and understanding. For instance, Toy Story explores the value of friendship and loyalty while delving into deeper questions about identity and purpose. Similarly, Finding Nemo addresses environmental conservation by highlighting the importance of protecting marine life habitats. Through its heartwarming tale of a father's journey to find his son in an ocean teeming with danger, it raises awareness about coral reef destruction caused by human activities such as pollution or overfishing.

By presenting these topics through relatable characters and engaging storylines instead of didactic lectures or dry documentaries, animation allows audiences – especially younger ones –to connect emotionally with the subject matter. 

Moreover thanks to its universal appeal- adults enjoy animated films just as much - if not more than children, this genre has become increasingly effective at reaching diverse audiences across different cultures worldwide.

Another studio making waves in promoting social change through animation is Studio Ghibli from Japan. Led by visionary director Hayao Miyazaki; this renowned studio has produced critically acclaimed works like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, which often address ecological concerns including deforestation, climate change, industrialization's impact on nature etc. For instance Spirited Away tells a spellbinding story set within a bathhouse run entirely by supernatural creatures where protagonist Chihiro must navigate her way through various trials ultimately learning valuable lessons about courage, resilience and compassion. 

Apart from raising awareness about environmental issues, animation studios have also used their platforms to shed light on social injustices and promote inclusivity. DreamWorks Animation's film Shrek is a prime example of this. Through its unconventional protagonist - an ogre named Shrek- the movie challenges traditional notions of beauty while advocating for acceptance and celebrating individuality. The character of Fiona in the film breaks free from societal expectations by embracing her true form as an ogre instead of aspiring to be a conventional princess; thus encouraging viewers to embrace their own uniqueness rather than conforming to narrow standards set by society.

In addition to creating compelling narratives that tackle important issues, many animation studios actively partner with nonprofit organisations and advocacy groups to further amplify the impact of their work. For instance Illumination Entertainment collaborated with UNICEF using the Minions franchise to raise funds to support children affected by natural disasters and conflicts worldwide. Similarly Laika Studios has teamed up on the National Missing Children’s Day campaign using characters from movies like Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings to emphasise the importance of child safety and prevention of abduction. These collaborations help generate greater visibility for the campaigns and mobilise a wider audience to take action.

Furthermore technology advancements within the animation field, allowed filmmakers to explore new innovative ways of storytelling. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) enhanced interactivity, enabling a deeper immersion and emotional connection between viewers and narrative content. Organisations like Baobab Studios pioneers developing immersive experiences that address topics such as mental health, bullying, discrimination etc., allowing users to step into the shoes of others and gain perspective on these issues. Ultimately, combining advanced technologies with impactful narratives create powerful tools driving positive transformative changes in society.

Animation studios have indeed come a long way since the days when cartoons were merely considered mindless entertainment. They now play a crucial role in shaping public opinion, promoting social causes, and inspiring individuals across all ages around the world.

Through their ability to captivate audiences with engaging stories and visually striking imagery, animation studios have successfully raised awareness about pressing issues ranging from environmental conservation to social justice. By utilising the universal language of animation, they are able to connect with viewers on a deep emotional level, fostering empathy and understanding.

As we continue into an increasingly interconnected world where global challenges demand collective action; the impact of animation in raising awareness and advocating for change is more important than ever before. Animation studios possess a unique power to engage diverse audiences across cultures and ages through relatable characters and compelling narratives which can ultimately inspire individuals to take action to create positive changes within the society.

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