This week saw ‘How to Train your Dragon 2” gross a staggering $500million at the global box office, cementing itself as the most successful animated venture of 2014 so far. The sequel to the widely popular, ‘How to Train your Dragon’ surpassed Rio 2′s $494.1 million takings and it is still showing in cinemas, having only opened in Italy this weekend. With the animated genre becoming ever more popular and successful we’ve decided to take a look back at the most successful animated films of all time.

10.

Shrek Forever After (2010) $752.600,867

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This fourth instalment in the ever popular Shrek franchise sees Shrek come up against Rumplestilskin who tricks him into erasing himself from existence. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the film remained number one in the US and Canada for three consecutive weeks, and with its staggering global takings of over 750 million places itself firmly as number 10 on our list

9.

Shrek the Third (2007) $798,958,162

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At number nine we once again find our favourite green ogre and friends. When his father in law suddenly dies, Shrek is faced with the daunting task of ruling far far away. Horrified at the thought of having to be king Shrek goes of in search of another heir. Similar to ‘Shrek Forever After’ the film received mixed reviews from critics but went on to gross over 790 million dollars making it a commercial success.

8.

Ice Age; Continental Drift (2012) $877,244,782

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The fourth instalment in the Ice Age franchise, Ice Age; Continental Drift was the highest grossing film of 2012. The film received mixed reviews as some critics felt it simply recycled plot lines from the previous films. Many people seemed to disagree as the film was still able to gross over 850 million and place itself as the 8th most popular animated film of all time.

7.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) $886,686,817

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Continuing the trend of dominating sequels, taking the number 7 spot is the third Ice Age film , ‘Dawn of the Dinosaurs.’ Sid is kidnapped by a tyrannosaurs rex, Ellie and Manny are expecting their first child and Dieago fears he is losing his predatory tiger nature. Similar to the other sequel films it was given mixed reviews by critics but it appears that cinema-goers remain loyal to their favourite franchises and this is enough to get them buying tickets, judging by the global takings for this film.

6.

Shrek 2 (2004) $919,838,758

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Shrek dominates the top 10 with yet another sequel from the franchise appearing. Shrek 2 was the highest grossing film of 2004 and received positive reviews from critics. Follow up to the original ‘Shrek’ in 2001 it is Dreamworks most successful film to date.

5.

Finding Nemo (2003) $936,743, 261

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At the halfway point of our list we find the academy award winning, ‘Finding Nemo’. When over-protective clownfish Marlin’s young son Nemo is kidnapped he must embark on a journey throughout the ocean to rescue him. His journey takes him all the way to Sydney and he makes a new friend along the way, a forgetful and ever chatty Regal Tang named Dory. Finding Nemo was the most popular selling DVD of all time with over 40 million copies sold worldwide. A spin-off film named ‘Finding Dory’ is set to be released in 2015 and based on the runaway success of Finding Nemo expectations will be high.

4.

Despicable Me 2 (2013) $970,761,885

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The follow up to the widely successful ‘Despicable Me’ about an evil villain named Gru, Dispicabele Me 2 the sees the return of Gru, his girls and his trusted minions. In an interesting twist on the first film Gru find himself trying to save rather than destroy the world after being recruited by the anti-villain league.

3.

The Lion King (1994) $987,483,777

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The oldest film included on the list and the highest grossing hand-drawn animation of all time, ‘The Lion King’ claims the number three spot. A defining feature in many of our childhoods the classic tale also gained academy awards for achievement in music. It temporarily dropped down the list but after its 3D re-release it proved it is still a firm family favourite being surpassed only by Toy Story 3 and Frozen.

2.

Toy Story 3 (2010) $1,063,171,91

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Released 15 years after the original Toy Story 3 was highly anticipated by a generation and won awards for Best Original Song and Best Animated Feature. The plot focuses on the toys and their uncertain fate as the now 17 year old Andy prepares to leave for university. Toy Story 3 held the record for most successful animated release until 2013 when it was overtaken by Disney’s musical offering Frozen.

1.

Frozen (2013) $1,274,219,009 

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This multi award winning offering from Disney broke all kinds of records to take the number one spot as the most successful animated film of all time. The original story turns the traditional Disney archetype on its head, with the female leads empowering themselves and no longer relying on the ‘male hero’ to rescue them. With catchy songs and loveable characters Frozen dominated the award ceremonies winning the Golden Globe for, ‘Best Animated Feature Film’, two Academy Awards for ‘Best Animated Feature and ‘Best Original Song’ for ‘Let it Go,’ the BAFTA award for ‘Best Animated Film,’ five Annie Awards including Best Animated feature and two Critics Choice Awards for ‘Best Animated feature’ and ‘Best Original Song.’

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After the tragic passing of comedy actor Robin Williams on Monday night we decided that it would only be fitting to post a tribute to such a talented actor who holds a particular significance within the animated genre. Not only a successful figure in comedy and acting, Williams infectious portrayal of the Genie in the lamp revolutionised the way we hear animated voice overs today.

www.digitalspy.co.uk

When many of us hear the name Robin William’s are minds are flooded with images of his various famous character roles such as Mrs Doubt fire, Patch Adams and indeed the genie from Disney’s animated move Aladdin.

 In his portrayal of the mischievous blue genie Williams diverged from the typical script dictated voice over style, unknowingly changing voice acting forever. Ad- libbing and improvising on what was written, he breathed new life into not only the genie but the art of voice animation. Thanks to his natural comedic timing and instinctive flair actors are now free to bring their own skill and interpretation to their roles enabling them to better bring their characters to life.

Although Robin was not the first famous face to lend his voice to animation, ‘Aladdin’ is widely regarded as the first film to base its marketing on the strength of having a famous actor voicing a character. Since William’s epic portrayal of the genie (where he mimicked the voices of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro among others), celebrity A-listers have flocked towards the animated genre with big names such as Angelina Jolie, Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks all giving their voices to animated characters.

 Williams reportedly accepted the film role on the condition that his voice was used only in the film and not for public promotion. He agreed to work for actors scale (minimum wage) mainly so that his children could see him in a Disney film. Disney inadvertently broke this contract causing a feud between the company and Williams with Disney apparently presenting Robin with a one million dollar Picas so by way of an apology.

 Disney released a heartfelt tribute to the actor with CEO and Chairman Robert Iger stating, ‘we’re deeply saddened by the loss of Robin Williams, a wonderfully gifted man who touched our hearts and never failed to make us laugh. An incredible actor and a comedic genius, Robin will always be remembered for bringing some of the world’s favourite characters to life…He was a true Disney Legend, a beloved member of our family, and he will be sorely missed. We join Robin’s friends and fans everywhere in mourning, and offer our thoughts and condolences to his family during this difficult time.’

The statement was released alongside the touching graphic (pictured below) created by Eric Goldberg who worked with Robin as the supervising animator on ‘Aladdin’.

Disney/Eric Goldberg

Williams love of voice acting did not end with Aladdin and he went on to voice parts in both ‘Happy feet’ and ‘Robots.’ A hugely talented actor who spread joy and laughter to thousands of people across the world, he will be missed by many and his contribution to the animated genre will not be forgotten. Our condolences are with his family and friends at this sad time.

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 The time has come again for the annual Emmy Awards! The 2014 Awards will be presented in a Creative Arts set on August 16th at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live. While the Primetime Emmys will be presented Aug. 25 also at the Nokia Theatre. Surprisingly, The Simpsons’ have not been nominated for ‘Outstanding Animated Program’ for the first time since 1994.

The Animated and Visual Effects related Nominees are as follows

Outstanding Animated Program :

  • Archer
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Futurama
  • South Park
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project

Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program

  • Adventure Time
  • Disney’s Mickey Mouse
  • Disney’s Phineas and Ferb
  • Regular Show
  • Robot Chicken

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance

  • Chris Diamantapolous as Mickey Mouse. ‘Disneys Mickey Mouse’
  • Stephen Full as Stan. ‘Dog with a Blog’
  • Seth MacFarlane as Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Glenn Quagmire. ‘Family Guy’
  • Maurice LaMarche as Calculon and Morbo. ‘Futurama’
  • Seth Green as various characters, ‘Robot Chicken’
  • Harry Shearer as Kent Broc, ‘The Simpsons’

Outstanding Special And Visual Effects

  • Almost Human: “Pilot” • FOX
  • COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey: The Immortals” • FOX/NatGeo
  • Game Of Thrones: “The Children” • HBO
  • The 100: “We Are Grounders, Part 2• CW
  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: “T.A.H.I.T.I.” • ABC

 

Outstanding Special And Visual Effects In A Supporting Role

  • Black Sails: “I.” • Starz
  • Da Vinci’s Demons: “The Sins of Daedalus” • Starz
  • Hawaii Five-0: “Ho’onani Makuakane” • CBS
  • Mob City: “A Guy Walks Into a Bar” • TNT
  • Vikings: “Invasion” • HISTORY
  • The Walking Dead: “30 Days Without An Accident” • AMC


Congratulations to all Nominee’s! It looks like ‘Robot Chicken’ and ‘Futurama’ are this years top nominees in the animated sector scoring themselves two nominations each. Who do you think will win in each category? Make your predictions and we will post an update when winners are announced.

 

 

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  2015 – The year of the sequels?         

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2015 will see the release of MARVEL’s latest offering “ The Avengers: Age of Ultorn”.The release date for this highly anticipated movie is May the 1st 2015. Next to the usual favourites the film features two new superheroes Quicksilver who is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Scarlet Witch who is played by Elisabeth Olson. At this years Comic Con director Joss Whedon mentioned that the main villain Ultron is “already in the house”. In other words, we have already met him as part of the Marvel Universe that exists so far! Expectations are high for the sequel as the first avengers film remains the third highest grossing movie of all time.

 

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The Hunger Games returns to our screens with the final instalment set to be released at the end of November 2015. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” will send Katniss on a psychological roller coaster and bring the franchise to a dramatic close. So far all of the movies, which are based on the book series by Suzanne Collins, have been huge hits so we have high expectations for the final one.

 

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2015 indeed seems to be the year of the sequels as 2012 musical comedy Pitch Perfect brings out its second instalment entitled “Pitch Perfect 2”. No specific release date has been given yet, but we have been told that it is heading into the cinemas in 2015. So far all we know about the movie is that part of it will shoot in London and Kay Cannon, who wrote the original is back writing the script. If you liked the first movie or are a musical movie fan in general this is one to watch for you. 

 

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Of course, no year would be complete without a catchup with the ultimate super spy ”Bond, James Bond.” “Bond 24” is set to be released into cinemas in 2015. After making some space in his schedule, Sam Mendes returns as director, which means the creative expectations for Bond 24 will be high. With sports illustrated model Kate Upton and stunning actress Penelope Cruz rumoured to be possible choices for the prestigious ‘bond girl’ role, this is one movie we will definitely be looking out for!

 

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Yet ANOTHER sequel which reaches our screens in December 2015 is “Avatar 2”. Six years after the original Avatar, it has been decided that the world needs a second instalment of the 2009 global phenomenon. With the first film being so successful the pressure is on for Avatar 2 to achieve similar success. If you enjoyed the first movie then this is definitely one for you to watch out for!

However, if none of these series’ sequels are of interest to you,  don’t worry there’s lots of new movies too!

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On the 19th of June 2015 Pixar are set bring out their new movie “Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’” which has been tipped to be one of the best animated films of 2015. Inside Out is an adventure in the mind of a 12 year old girl struggling with the typical teenage problems. The movie is set inside the young girls head and the characters represent her emotions. Sounds promising! We’re definitely placing this on our “Ones To Watch” list.

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Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Snoopy are back. The last time they were on our screens was in 1980. “Peanuts” will be released on the 25th of November 2015, and to everyone’s surprise the movie will be in 3D. The plot is so far unknown but we’re expecting great things, because well, they are the Peanuts.

 

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Most of us are familiar with the Disney classic “Cinderella” well, exciting news Disney fans a new version is heading straight for our screens on the 13th of March 2015. But if you’re picturing an updated animation of the popular story you’d be wrong! This will be a live-action take on the classic story starring Lily James. After updated versions of “Alice in Wonderland”, “Snow White” and “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” it will be interesting to see a new take on this classic tale.

 

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Speaking of updated versions of classics Star Wars finds its way back on the big screen with “Star Wars Episode VII” set to be released in late 2015 . If done right Disney will be presented with a chance to re-release one of the biggest series of all time. However, Star Wars has a huge and devoted fan base, and there is no doubt that they will accept nothing but excellence. No pressure then!

 

 

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Love Disney Movies? Need a way to keep your kids entertained on a long drive? Then look no further than Disney app, ‘Disney Movies Anywhere.’ Thanks to this recent offering from Disney you can now stream and download Disney movies any time and anywhere!

Downloading the app entitles users to:

Access exclusive Disney content for free including never-before-seen videos, original programming, and much more…
•Build your digital movie collection with a library of
hundreds of videos to choose from… with lots more to be added soon!
•Redeem your Disney digital copies or add new movies
directly through the app.
•Watch movies while connected to the internet or 
download movies to store on your device for viewing when offline.
•Earn Disney Movie
Rewards points for every digital transaction.

The app launched in early 2014 starting with the popular Disney Pixar movie Cars. Each week you can jump into another adventure with your favourite Disney characters. Dive into the ocean with “Finding Nemo,” whiz through outer space with Wall E or help The Incredible’s to save the world.  This app is perfect during summer for young children on vacation and travelling distances for holidays. In addition, when you download Disney Movies Anywhere and link it to your iTunes account, you’ll get the Disney Pixar film ‘The Incredible’s’ for free! So, what are you waiting for? Download the app today.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/disney-movies-anywhere-watch/id766894692?mt=8

 

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The annual Academy Awards are never without controversy. This year, the Oscars will be taking place on March 2nd, and will be hosted by Ellen Degeneres. In light of the recent 2014 Oscar nominations being released to the public, the wide debate over which films qualify for the “Best Animated Feature” category has been more heated than ever.  The constant furthering of the visual possibilities through various forms of animation is making it more and more difficult to distinguish where the cinematographic work ends, and the visual effects begin. With films such as Gravity receiving nominations for its cinematography, despite being heavily animated, questions are raised once again about the limitations of these categories.

Gravity is a science-fiction/techno-thriller, and was one of the most hotly anticipated films of 2013. Largely backed to do well at the 86th Academy Awards, they picked up 10 nominations – including “Best Cinematography”. Director Alfonso Cuaron has stated estimation himself that roughly 80% of Gravity was hand animated through CG animation. Scenes in the film which take place in space only feature faces in terms of live action photography, the scenery, bodies, and even the shields in front of their faces are computer animated. Bill Kroyer, the director of digital arts at Chapman University, explained that “The action of Sandra [Bullock’s} body is key frame animation [meaning that it was animated by hand], that qualifies Gravity as an animated film”. So why did it not qualify for the animation category? In recent years, films such as Life of Pi and Avatar also sparked disagreement by receiving nominations and awards in categories not designed for animation films, despite each of these containing more than 75 minutes of animation throughout, the main original regulation for films to qualify for the Animation category. Nowadays, the distinction between animated films and cinematographic pictures is often how “realistic” the characters have been made, regardless of how imaginary the surrounding environment, or whether the characters are more “cartoonish”.

This blurring of lines seems to be prompting the idea of opening a new award category for “Visual Imaging” by the annual Visual Effects Society Summit which took place a few weeks back. This category would see feature films such as the aforementioned titles be commended for their animation in terms of realism. However this appears to still be early talk in terms of category becoming established, and if plans do go ahead, it is likely that this category may be regarded alongside the other non-celebrity driven awards with shortened acceptance speeches and time slots squeezed in between commercials.

Click here to keep up to date with all the upcoming Academy Awards news!

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Viral videos are a relatively new method of marketing. The ultimate aim; to drive visitor traffic to your website and therefore sell your product or service. Websites are a must have tool for businesses to effectively communicate with their potential clients on a global scale, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Therefore it is essential to promote your website, in order to stay visible, and credible, to these potential customers.

Website marketing can be complex and is often neglected by website owners. Marketing and promoting your website to the right target audience is essential for your website to succeed and prosper. Attracting the correct target audience to your website is also essential, a large volume of traffic would mean nothing if these visitors are not relevant to your offering. There are various tools you can use to increase visitors to your website, including; email marketing, link building with articles, and optimising your site to perform well in search engines. However, one of the most increasingly popular methods of website promotion, is the use of a viral video.

So, what is a viral video?

A viral is a video which is shared through either your business website itself; or through your blog, emails, social media, or other sharing tools such as YouTube. The term “viral” is used to describe a video which has been uploaded, and spread/shared, at a fast pace, therefore forming a large number of views (a method of measuring its popularity). A few thousand views is normally considered to be a viral.

Viral videos usually contain humorous, engaging, or compelling content and are shared due to their entertainment value, or their relate-ability. The underlying message should be discussable, or emotional, and more often than not, successful viral videos encompass both of these elements. Viewers should want to pass on the video once they have viewed it themselves.

Why use a viral video?

It is engaging. In terms of promoting your website, most people would much rather view a video, than read a block of text on a page. The videos are equally as effective as a communication tool, to explain the key benefits of your product or service.

An interesting video used on your website can also help to reduce your bounce rate, as it can hold your web visitors attention for a longer period of time. Also allowing you time to successfully communicate your message, better than your website alone would allow.

Examples of effective viral videos

To discuss how a viral video could help your business, please get in touch! 

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Frozen 2013

Coming soon for winter 2013 from Disney; Frozen follows the adventures of fearless optimist Anna, who teams up with mountain man Kristoff in an epic journey to find Anna’s sister Elsa. Elsa has trapped their kingdom in eternal winter with her icy powers. The duo encounter Everest-like conditions and a surprisingly hilarious snowman named Olaf in their race to find Elsa and save their kingdom.

The Lego Movie (stop motion)

The first feature length Lego movie, due for release in February 2014. An ordinary LEGO minifigure is mistakenly recruited as a MasterBuilder, to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.

Rio 2

Rio 2 is due for release in April 2014, directed by Blue Sky studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Blu is back, with Jewel and their three kids living the perfect domesticated life in the magical city that is Rio de Janeiro. Jewel decides that it’s time for their kids to learn to live like real birds, and so insists on a family trip into the Amazon. Rio soon realises the threat of losing his family to the call of the wild.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2, is due for release in July 2014. It’s been five years since Hiccup and Toothless successfully united dragons and Vikings on the island of Berk. The now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the centre of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons

Planes: Fire and Rescue

“Planes: Fire & Rescue features a quirky crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from a raging wildfire. When world famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of wildfire air attack. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his courageous air attack team, including spirited super scooper Lil’ Dipper , heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire, and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.”

Minions

The Minions are back in a film of their own! Due for release in July 2015 – Gru is recruited by an organization to stop Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.

The Boxtrolls (stop motion + CG)

A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Based on the children’s novel ‘Here Be Monsters’ by Alan Snow. Due for release in September 2014.

Sources; www.imbd.com, www.disneywikia.com, www.skwigly.co.uk, www.tvcfblog.blogspot.co.uk, www.digitalspy.co.uk, www.teaser-trailer.com, www.frontpagemag.com

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3D display technology is currently at the forefront of our industry, with new developments in 3D visual display/printing/scanning reported on pretty much a daily basis.

We thought we’d write a small overview on our blog to summarize the various ways in which developments in 3D technology are helping businesses to compete in their arena and to ultimately sell products in this tech-savvy age.

Augmented reality – although not new to the market, is an interesting way to create a buzz around your product or service. We’ve seen this used as a marketing tool at trade shows and events and it seems to do the job at pulling in a crowd. It’s a view of the real world – physical environment, enhanced (or augmented) in some way by computer generated sensory input. This can be in the form of sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world. This method of 3D display technology has proved popular with global brands such as BMW, Ikea, Ray-Ban and Wrigley’s.

Dreamoc, is also a tool used to showcase products. It is a mixed-reality display designed to present products or artifacts in combination with free floating holographic video elements. They come in different shapes and sizes, and are sold internationally. To launch its new S4 smartphone at the Point of Sale, Samsung Belgium put several holographic Dreamoc stations in the mobistar center network and one in its Samsung promotion truck. You can see their results here:

3D Printing and Scanning is becoming increasingly popular to create 3D models of absolutely anything, from human to engineering parts. It involves creating a 3D solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes, making it distinctly different from traditional machining methods which remove materials by cutting away and drilling. 3D printing has been adopted in marketing methods by Coca Cola, Ebay, Nokia and Volkswagen.

Sources: Dreamoc, Mashable, Adage

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We’re currently on the lookout to appoint a Business Development Executive and a Junior Marketing Executive to our team here at KD. Both new roles will assist in the overall growth of the business. For more detailed information take a look at the job descriptions below. If you think you have what it takes to add real value to the team – don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! Please send your CV and a cover letter detailing why you think you’d be great for the role to hello@kurodragon.com.

Business Development Executive – Job Description

The Business Development Executive will be responsible for working alongside the MD to generate new business for the company, this will be working in an animation studio environment so a passion for all things creative is a must. Kuro Dragon work with a huge variety of clients in different industries, therefore the ability to learn quickly to broaden your knowledge of different industries is advantageous. The candidate must have very good customer relations skills and the ability to handle multiple clients. The role will entail;

- Making speculative phone calls and emails
- Identifying new leads and continuously researching competitors and market trends
- Following up duties and arranging meetings
- Database management
- Managing clients
- Attending meetings/conferences/events worldwide with a view to developing new business
- Providing feedback to the MD

The candidate must hold the following key skills:
- Target meeting
- Time management
- Presentation and communication
- Organisation
- Self-motivation
- Enthusiasm, ambition and confidence
- Professionalism and flexibility

Qualifications and experience
- Business related degree or diploma
- Experience is advantageous however is not essential

Junior Marketing Executive – Job Description

The Junior Marketing Executive will handle a number of day to day business activities, however their main responsibility will be developing the Kuro Dragon marketing plan, and executing activities to increase brand awareness and ultimately, company sales. The candidate will be responsible for building and maintaining the Kuro Dragon brand, therefore an eye for fine detail and a creative mind is essential. More specific tasks include;

- Maintaining company website and blog
- Monitoring website traffic and performance and creating monthly reports on data
- Maintaining and developing social media presence and general online brand awareness
- Creating marketing plans and targets
- Researching market and competitors and creating reports based on this research
- Sourcing opportunities for PR and promotion
- Direct mail
- Budget management
- Database management

The candidate must hold the following key skills:

- Excellent written and oral communication skills (also copywriting)
- Organisation and presentation
- Creativity, innovation, ambition and competitiveness
- A good understanding of marketing principles
- Target meeting
- Time management and planning
- Social media skills for promotional purposes

Qualifications and experience
- Business and marketing related degree or diploma
- Experience and familiarity with IT is essential, however experience of the role is not.

 

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