pixel animated hiring ad horizontal thumbnail

Pixel Animated Hiring Ad

This pixel animated hiring ad was such an exciting project and one I’m so proud to have had the chance to try! My employer SJE has been looking for a creative way to draw new applicants to apply for some of our factory floor positions. We’ve tried the typical campaigns and even worked with an agency, but didn’t see a long-term substantial increase in applicants.

I was tasked with coming up with a creative advertising idea for a new hiring video ad. Our HR department suggested I make a cartoon character of our plant manager like I did of our CEO and leadership team when we announced our values a few years ago.

I went down that route initially, but couldn’t find an angle that I felt was fresh and interesting. After writing down 10+ ideas, I finally had the idea to give our ad a video game theme. I’ve been really into Stardew Valley and the look of classic pixel games lately, so I took inspiration from that to create this ad.

Of course, in order to create a pixel animation video, I had to learn how to do pixel art. I think one of my biggest strengths is learning a new skill quickly. I turned to YouTube and quickly figured out how best to go about this video. I drew all the elements for this video except small text and a few backgrounds (and some clouds that I added in last-minute) in Photoshop. For many, I wanted to create frame-by-frame pixel animations, so I did that in Photoshop and exported them as GIFs. Then I took all my assets and edited them using After Effects.

This pixel animated hiring ad project was different for us not only because of the style, but also the platforms we posted it on. After looking at some of the latest research, we decided to focus our ad spend on YouTube and Tiktok, with a small boost on Facebook. I also posted it organically on Instagram and LinkedIn. In order to create the best ad campaign, I created both a vertical and a horizontal version of this ad.

So far, we’ve got over 15,000 views on Tiktok and over 1,000 across YouTube versions. Our HR department has also seen our number of applications for these positions double over the last week that the ads have been running!

While I’m not optimistic that this will provide a long-term solution to our hiring issues, I do feel good about making a small dent in our numbers with a creative outside-the-box solution. It’s projects like this, where I’m given a lot of room for creativity and responsibility, where I feel like I really shine.

I also want to highlight how very odd it is for someone with the title Digital Marketing Specialist to also be good at animation. Since it’s one of my personal passions and I also consider myself an artist in my non-professional life, I enjoyed this particular challenge. But it’s important to note that the only reason this particular video turned out so well is because I infused it with my own personal passions and skills.

Below you can see some of my hand-drawn pixel art sprites and images that I created!

This jumping sprite was one of the hardest to animate and I’m really proud of how it turned out!
I never ended up using this sprite, but it shows a common character idle animation.
sad pixel girl
Trying to make a character look emotive on a 40×40 pixel canvas presents a challenge, but I think I succeeded here in making her look sad.
happy pixel girl
Here the character is expressing joy!
float switch pixel art
I’m really proud of how good these float switches came out–I doubt anybody has drawn a pixel art float switch before!
pixel art video game console
Drawing this game controller was one of the more laborious pieces, but I used reference to help.

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