AU pre-roll animation

Background: Athabasca University is a Canadian University that offers online courses to over 90 countries worldwide. I’ve been working with them over the past year on their national campaign including print and online ads, microsites like and, a first for both my client and I, this 15-second pre-roll animation.

Limitations: A pre-roll ad is a very short online video commercial (typically under 30 seconds) that appears just prior to an online video. My client and I knew that we would be working within certain limitations. We had a small budget and a very short spot (only 15 seconds). Also, the spot was the only moving/animated ad in the currently running ad campaign. These are ads that you are generally forced to watch before your programme or video will play, which can be (ahem) frustrating for the viewer, so we also really wanted to unexpectedly delight the viewer with our short little ad spot.

This little animation won a Platinum MarCom award for Design (Web)/Web Animation! Whoot.

Concept, design & illustrations: Sarah Jackson / Animation work: Michael Christensen / Client: Athabasca University (working with Heather Newton).

For more info on AU and their programs and courses, check out their main site at