Brand Strategy Marketing Campaign Brand Design Boldfish

The subtle power of cinemagraphs

What are cinemagraphs?

Cinemagraphs are a hybrid of living photography and video brought to life with a subtle hint of seamless looping movement. Photographers Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck were the pioneers of the cinemagraph medium back in 2011 using it primarily for fashion and lifestyle photographs. But today, the appetite for cinemagraphs continues to grow and excite advertisers. When executed well and used effectively, they are an engaging medium to to help create lasting impressions for brands. The contrast of partial movement against static imagery creates an engaging, mesmerising effect that brings your content to life and make consumers stop and take notice.

Cinemagraph GIFs

Once a video has been created, cinemagraphs can easily be re-purposed into a GIF format. GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format referring to a file format that supports both static and animated images. GIFs allow you to present a short video clip in a far more condensed image format without sound. Attached is an example of a cinemagraph GIF we created for Boldfish. They are quick, soundless videos that loop and don’t require a play button. Auto-play looping capabilities on Instagram, Facebook and more recently Twitter has opened the door for brands to deploy cinemagraphs in a GIF format making them easier to consume and harder to ignore.

A distinct visual asset

With brands facing a constant challenge to create meaningful connections with consumers everyday, it’s little wonder the appetite for cinemagraphs continues to grow and excite advertisers. They offer a subtle yet engaging elegance that highlight specific moments and isolate special movements in a continuous loop offering a more enticing way to reach consumers than loud, distracting and annoying GIF solutions.

Supports various marketing goals

Lower production costs make cinemagraphs especially attractive offering an engaging format at a fraction of the cost of video. Cinemagraphs can also extend beyond social media and can be used to support goals across all stages of your marketing strategy. They can help define unique brand positioning and heighten engagement for brands of all sizes and industries. Here’s are a few ways cinemagraphs can work for your business.

  • Website Design: Creating your own GIFs is a way to show off your brand’s creativity and personality
  • Online Banner Ads: Add subtle motion to highlight key offerings or products
  • Microsites: Introduce motion to help focus on key features and benefit rollovers
  • EDMs: Header banners with a subtle focus on reinforcing content message
  • Digital Displays: Add sophistication to any environment with subtle movement and engaging imagery
  • Trade Show Stands: Create more engaging visuals with movement to reinforce a brand or stand theme
  • Billboards: Subtle eye-catching motion can add sophistication and focus for messaging
  • Keynote / Powerpoint Presentations: Allows them to be attention grabbing without being distracting
  • Blogs: Create positive first impressions without the load lag

Rohan Berzins
Creative Director – Boldfish


Rohan is the founder of the brand-led creative agency Boldfish ( specialising in brand strategy, campaigns and communications. He brings a wealth of experience having worked with a diverse range clients and industry sectors ranging from startups right through to global leaders for over 18 years.