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GIFs have seen a surge in popularity with the rise of emojis, memes and stickers, and it seems as if every brand under the sun is getting in on the action to make their message heard by increasingly distracted audiences.

But with such huge number of moving images online, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Never fear! Some outstanding examples await you in the list below…

1. Vue Cinemas

When I first came across one of Vue’s GIFs on my Facebook newsfeed, it made me jump out of my skin, but nevertheless I stopped and watched. They may not be the prettiest animations you’ll see on this list, but they’re certainly very eye-catching when absently scrolling on mobile.

The short movie clips ‘pop-out’ of the screen with characters breaching the frame of a mocked-up social post. Once the GIF ends, a full vertical video of the applicable trailer begins playing automatically. Kudos to Vue for (quite literally) thinking outside of the box.

2. The Great British Bake Off

Anyone who follows GBBO on Twitter will know that the account is extremely active whilst the show is broadcast each week, and because of this it prepares plenty of content in advance (mostly in GIF format). Aside from the overwhelming amount of looping, captioned clips straight from the show, there have been some pretty creative images thrown in for good measure. The consistent use of colour and bold typeface are pleasing to the eye, and help to update their online following of live developments. A dash of classic GBBO humour, such as #CakeSongs never goes amiss, either!

3. Google

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Google has produced some incredibly slick, almost hypnotic GIFs on social, demonstrating the brand’s unrivaled dedication to aesthetics. Each has been created quite differently with a particular audience in mind, and yet there is a seamless consistency in colour and rounded forms. Below are two such examples.

The first promotes a science fair for ‘young inventors, dreamers, coders and problem-solvers’ and features a myriad of colourful wooden shapes; the result of which is reminiscent of a completed school project.

The second is quite minimal in colour, encouraging the viewer to focus on the contrasting white golf balls. The use of 3D space in this animation is more refined and lends itself to promoting immersive events such as Google Home Mini Golf.

4. Boohoo

Although Boohoo can sometimes overdo the sickly use of ice cream tones, the brand has become quite creative with its recent email content. Some of Boohoo’s latest special offers have been presented through engaging GIFs, combined with prominent calls to action (designed to prompt impulse purchases).

This animation creates urgency by using an emptying glass to convey time running out.

Similarly, this image produces an immersive sense of tension as you anticipate which offer has been randomly selected.

5. Yo! Sushi

Yo! deconstructs its sushi to focus on core ingredients through playful (and sometimes informative) GIFs. Their upbeat tone of voice is reflected by plenty of colour and a nostalgic stop-motion style. The simple construction of the examples below reinforces the honesty and transparency of the accompanying marketing copy. It is worth noting how the brand uses opportunities like National Video Games Day to get extra creative, resulting in this adorable sushi rice Pac-Man.

6. Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas has a unique brand style, featuring bright colours, plenty of shapes and a playful attitude. This is reflected well in their GIF content, particularly when it comes to email campaigns, with the brand maintaining consistency across email and web.

A model employs a sequence of unconventional, light-hearted poses emphasising the carefree voice of the brand whilst simultaneously demonstrating their popular laid-back clothing style. On email, there are no titles or calls to action preceding the full-size GIFs; a bold move from the retailer.

7. Treatwell

Treatwell takes its clean and colourful approach to the next level by adding a mixture of looped clips and abstract shapes to the GIFs featured in its email marketing.

Often sticking to a strict 3-colour palette; the result is bold and memorable, without providing too much distraction from the main copy. Treatwell’s approach to content is not overly dissimilar to that of Oliver Bonas, although I was disappointed to find that the use of GIFs does not extend to the Treatwell app or website.

8. The Design Museum

The Design Museum (London) uses a variety of animated content on its social channels.

Attention-grabbing flashes of colour and bold capitalised fonts are used for its largely text-based GIFs, which inform the viewer of upcoming exhibitions and events. Although they can be overwhelming when played on a loop, the tempo and colour palette have been carefully arranged to reinforce the daring and unapologetic voice of the museum.

In contrast, the Design Museum has also dabbled in photographic stop-motion animation to create a teaser for the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition. This is a fantastic way to communicate the ambiance of a space without giving too much away, enticing the viewer to learn more.

9. Schweppes

Schweppes keeps its GIFs dark and mysterious to convey an air of modern sophistication. In particular, their Instagram feed features plenty of richly detailed photographic content containing full or spot animation. The style of animation used is smooth and slow, encouraging viewers to buy into the idea of leisurely enjoying a beverage. Unlike some of the younger and more colourful brands featured on this list, Schweppes relies on subtlety to present its message.

10. Heist

Heist tights have not been as overly adoptive of GIFs compared to some other brands, but they are certainly worth a mention for their outstanding presentation of brand values.

Heist is a rapidly growing hosiery brand which has recently garnered attention for its ‘radically different’ approach to tights by aiming to make them more comfortable and true to skin tone diversity. They have created GIFs that, whilst basic, transcend the idea that hosiery is limited to just one gender, size or range of skin colours. In this instance, GIFs have been used to focus in on product USPs and to convey Heist’s core beliefs.

Are there any brands you have seen using GIFs creatively? Let us know in the comments below!

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