Top 10 animated emails

It seems that every time I open my inbox I encounter more animated emails. Recent converts include Ralph Lauren, Piperlime and Clinique. With animated GIF’s widely supported in the email environment, everyone’s joining in the trend. Animated emails can boost your click throughs, even email purists have been persuaded to give animation a try.

My top 10 picks are in no particular order and all use animated GIF’s rather than Flash.

 Click on the images below to view the animated emails

Saks - March 07. Subject line - Want It! Our Spring Trend Line-Up + FREE SHIPPING

Saks animated email

Land’s End - March 08. Subject line - Hiker, sandal, sneaker in one - just $39.50!

animated email example

Norm Thompson - Nov 07. Subject line - SAVE 20% on your entire Santa gift list!

animation in email

Piperlime - April 08. Subject line - Welcome to Palm Beach.

Piperlime animated email

REI Gearmail - Nov 07. Subject line - An REI Favorite - The North Face Denali Jacket

animated email - Nov 07. Subject line - Change your Scenery - 20% Off Entire Order!

Art animated email

Horchow - Nov 07. Subject line - CLEARANCE EXPANDED: new items just added…

sale animated email

CB2 - Jan 08. Subject line - warhol for 3.95 (wink, wink)

CB2 animation in email

Williams Sonoma - Jan 08. Subject line - Roasted Garlic + Herb Dip for Game Day

subtle email animation

Neiman Marcus - April 08. Subject line - The ARTISTRY trend with a Fendi twist + EARN A $200 GIFT CARD

gif animation

Looking at the 80 or so animated emails in my collection, some clear tactics stood out:

Animation can reinforce branding { REI Gearmail } Stack multiple images into limited space { } Draw your eye to overlooked areas of the screen { Piperlime } Show off important product features { Neiman Marcus }  Highlight important copy { Horchow } and add fun around the holidays { Norm Thompson }


4 Responses to “Top 10 animated emails”

  • Marco Ruschioni
    May 1st, 2008 08:33

    Of course I like the creative, but considering the massive amount of imagery in these mails, if the user has images blocked (which most email clients will do by default) all you’ll see is a nice chunky grey block. About as useful as a chocolate teapot to an E-mail Marketers arsenal unfortunately :(

    I recommend using a good ratio of text to imagery. Use HTML bg colors and text wherever possible, the golden rule being never to use an image in place of text!

  • Anna Yeaman
    May 1st, 2008 10:51

    These top retailers know that their images are getting blocked, even so they still send out this type of email. (Almost daily in some cases - Neiman Marcus)

    You’ve got to presume that they are seeing a profit. The heavy use of images is so widespread among top retailers, I don’t believe it’s ignorance on their part. They invest a lot of money in these campaigns, if they were not seeing a return they would have switched to better designs year’s ago.

    They must have decided that the trade off was worth it. Images sell and subscribers need only press the,”click here to download pictures” button at the top of their inbox.

    I agree with you Marco, it’s not good email design practice particularly with mobile marketing on the rise. Nevertheless it must be working for them.

    Williams Sonoma and REI Gearmail did not do such a bad job, they always use HTML text…here is an email I designed for Hugo Boss that uses animation in a less intrusive way.

  • cmay
    August 6th, 2008 13:06

    Do you have any other examples of emails where text is still more prominent than images but animated GIFs are also being used (similar to the example you provided above for Hugo Boss)?

  • Anna Yeaman
    August 6th, 2008 13:26

    Hi cmay,

    Here is an email I just finished designing. It has a little bit of animation at the top right just for fun, and to draw attention to the “Ask Lisa” link.


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