tanzania_animation tanzania_animation
Cartoon Culture

Watch What Happens When These Adults See Animation For The First Time

What would happen if you showed animation to someone who had never seen a cartoon before?

To discover the answer to that question, the people who made this video traveled to Tanzania to show cartoons to the technologically-isolated Hadza tribe, one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes in the world. The nomadic Hadzabe live off the land, with no access to electricity or running water.

The video is actually a marketing piece for Powtoon, a London-based startup that wants to democratize animation with its online platform that allows anybody to quickly create animation projects.

“We proved that cartoons are a fundamental form of communication, instinctively understood by everyone across boundaries, borders, and cultures, regardless of whether you grew up watching Mickey Mouse or not,” said Ilya Spitalnik, founder and CEO of Powtoon. “But beyond that, we learned that no matter how far apart we might be from one another geographically, people are all connected, and the power of laughter and a little open-mindedness can bring us all together.”

The story of how the trip happened is rather interesting and can be read on the Powtoon web site.

  • Santosh OOmmen

    Great story. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Will

    I find this insulting. They aren’t sharing an art form with people who have never experienced it, they’re pushing their crappy product and exploiting people in order to do it. They are diminishing animation and humanity in this video. Cartoon Brew, you are great and I understand why you would want to share the basic idea behind this, but what they are doing is cheap and awful, they don’t deserve the exposure from you.

    • ea

      Reminds me of the “Whopper virgin” ads from Burger King.

    • Sama Somprasong

      Impressive isn’t it? No matter how crappy the message was or how obviously insulting the contents are. All they need to do is adding some “cute background music”, some little editing and Voila!!! They got such a meaningful “Tell the world how great we are” stuff!!

    • Anodos7

      Looked like everyone involved was having a good time? You raise a legitimate question, but to me your interpretation of their motivations seems too cynical.

  • Jonas

    Not cool. Exploiting one of the few groups of of the ‘first people’ mankind have left as a marketing ploy for their product. Tactless and shameful.

    Maybe it started from a sincere and well meaning place but if this is the best marketing strategy that they can come up with for Powtoon they should fire their marketing director. Just as awful as the sexistic and self-centered “humblebragging” comemrcial that Bang & Olufsen made recently https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ-3C7x2vPU

  • Disappointing

    I feel like this article was misleading and I have to agree with another commenter that the whole video was explotative. It seemed like the video was going to be presenting animation to people who had never seen animation before and getting an idea of how animation affects us universally as people. Instead, we get a questionable commercial trying to sell a simple 2D rigged animation program which more accurately represents their reactions to a Macbook than to the animation itself.

    • John

      Maybe article is commecial too.

    • Anodos7

      Since their product is a platform designed to let anyone “quickly create animation projects,” why are the two things (sharing the universality of animation, and a simple 2d rigging animation product) incompatible? And the people of Hadza tribe did seem pretty into the animations, particularly to seeing themselves together in them.

  • Sama Somprasong

    It would be better if they bought something more “quality like” to show them.

    • Anodos7

      Then people would have accused them of trying to show up the Hadza tribe or something.

  • theBlipp

    The exploitative sentiment aside, their product is a horror anyway. Anyone in their right mind would walk away fast instead of using this insulting piece of software.

  • FelixSputnik

    Troubling, very troubling indeed

  • Ira Owens

    So I started by reading all the comments and then watching the video.

    Sure the animation tool is simple, but the real take away for me was this…seems that they did more good than harm. Even the translator said “If it doesn’t harm them you can show them.”. Now the bigger question is how has society affected indigenous tribes like these people?

    I would say more so from lack of clean water and less so from artists/creators paying them a visit. Oh and bringing medical aid in addition to their visit.

    It was said that “Animation is the universal language” perhaps kindness is the universal language.

  • jifflepops

    I too came here to object to this exploitative marketing effort. Disgusting.

  • Ryan McKenzie

    Anyone with an ounce of reasoning can see through this pseudo-benevolence. It’s a degrading form of advertising and it’s a shame to see it exposed here on CB.

  • Just watching the first 34 seconds of it was distasteful and left me felt terrible. They wanted to talk about how animation has been a part of lives of children, but only showing white children…and then wanting to share animation to those who may not have seen it, and they’re colored (0:34).

    It’s like they’re trying to say that animation has been only meant for one kind of audience all along, and not a diverse experience. If that was not their original intent, then they should’ve really tested this video with other diverse individuals.

    Could’ve done better PowToon, seriously.

  • Jump’n

    When westerners go to remote places and share “their” culture, what is it they are sharing? These people didn’t invent animation, or even computers… but they arrive and feel like messiahs. Feels more like an ego boost. This tribe is a living example of how humans can actually survive without all the meaningless crap we fill our own lives with. don’t spoil that.

    • Fried

      We should go back even further than that to when we were nude hunters and gathers living in nature without stupid advanced techniques like farms, animal training, or language. In fact, I find most ancient art an insult to our true primitive state!

      Humanity certainly took a dive when the Egyptians rose up.

  • disqus_VA2qs7IJEL

    This is such a strange promotion for this company. It’s good that the Powtoon article does mention “In the last ten years, the Hadzabe population has declined from 8,000 to less than 700”. From the wiki page
    and the conservation link at the end of the Powtoon article, it sounds like the main problem is their working land being developed away from them as much as it could be, as the Powtoon article would more directly suggest, high infant mortality and lack of medical aid. I tend to think a group of nomadic people dying out from the encroachment of a changing world is a far stronger, but sobering, message than communication through animation. Any anthropologists around might be able shed more light on all of this.

  • Too Many Cooks

    Well, at the very least, the marketing is better than GoAnimate’s was.