These Comical Cartoon Spots Cut Through the Clutter of Dull Energy Advertising

Anomaly’s debut for U.K. startup Bulb is quirky and fun

One of Bulb's new ads features a chatty fridge and fan. Cool. Bulb

These animated commercials from UK power startup Bulb bristle with comic energy. They broke over the weekend from Anomaly London, marking the agency’s debut for the electricity and gas provider, as well as the marketer’s first-ever TV campaign.

Produced in the quirky, minimalist style of YouTube series such as Simon’s Cat, and featuring cheeky voiceovers by Tim Key and Ellie White, each ad shines a light on one specific advantage Bulb has to offer.

The clip below touts the company as “the biggest green energy company.” So, naturally, it stars unicorns who only show themselves to Bulb customers:

Yeah, unicorns are scary. The next spot talks up Bulb’s consumer recommendations, powered by two cool performers—a chatty fridge and table-fan:

Finally, a rapidly expanding batch of kelp spreads the word about Bulb’s standing as “the fastest growing energy company.” (It has acquired nearly 1 million customers in less than four years of operation.)

Anomaly sidestepped cliched power-company patter, instead crafting fun messages designed to cut through in a cluttered marketplace.

“The energy industry is full of jargon and obscurity, so the choice to avoid this was important,” says agency creative director Vix Jagger.

“We also only used the Bulb brand colors, with a massive Bulb logo lighting our scene at the start, as well as mentioning what Bulb had to offer in the first five seconds,” she says. “We didn’t want to wrap it up in epic tracks or metaphors. We just wanted to make funny, slightly weird stories that would stand out on TV, all while still keeping the product at the heart.”

Voice artists Key and White, close friends with spot-on chemistry and superb comic timing, played a pivotal part, as “the animations were led entirely by their reads,” which informed the tone and flow of the films, Jagger says.

“The first thing we did was get in a room and have them run at the scripts again and again—ad-libbing and really loosening up,” she recalls. “Everything was then built off of that—the intonations, the facial expressions (of the animated characters). We imagined detailed backstories for each of the characters—like Terry the Unicorn who was desperate to come out of hiding, and just needed to persuade his wife.”

For the visuals, the team “referenced simple animations, like the YouTube series Simon’s Cat, which helped bring to life what we were after,” Jagger says. “We looked at animations where it was all about detail, timing and facial expression that rely simply on the arch of an eyebrow. We also wrote (to fill) 20-seconds, so that in 30-seconds (the length of each commercial) the little details could breathe, and we had space to bring out the humor.”

The overall approach mirrors Bulb’s vow to make energy issues easy for its subscribers to understand, Jagger says. “We wanted to reflect that in the animation style—making it feel super simple but also really personal and full of human expression. As few lines as possible was our rule. If we didn’t need it, we stripped it out.”


Brand: Bulb
Agency: Anomaly
Executive Creative Director: Oli Beale
Chief Strategy Offer: Stuart Smith
Creative Director: Vix Jagger
Copywriter: Whitney Ruef
Art Director: Jenny Kang
Head of TV: Daisy Mellors
Business Director: Ellie Harriman
Account Manager: Anna Coulter
Media Agency: the7Stars
Production Company: Blinkink
Executive Producer: Bart Yates
Prod Co-Producer: Alex Halley
Directors: Joe Pelling & Alex Grigg
Sound: Soundtree & Wave Studios

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.