ITV sends Ian Wright on a psychedelic trip to kick off Euro 2020 coverage

ITV Creative ad combines live action with animation.

Ian Wright: played for England from 1991 to 1998
Ian Wright: played for England from 1991 to 1998

ITV Creative launches the broadcaster's Euro 2020 campaign today with a TV ad starring former England football star and current pundit Ian Wright. 

The 40-second spot for ITV’s coverage of the tournament starts in black and white focusing on the former striker, who, like all football fans, has waited a year for a phone message to reveal Euro 2020 is finally here – 12 months after it was originally meant to take place following its postponement as a result of Covid.

On hearing the exciting news Wright's eyes pop out in animated excitement. The monochrome screen is filled with colour as a vivid dragon and pair of lions – representing England, Scotland and Wales – escape from his smartphone.

The action then takes us on an aerial journey to share in the excitement of fans from the three home nations competing. The TV ad finishes with a shot of an excited Wright and the tagline: “The good times start here."  

The spot was created by Tony Pipes and Rachel King, and directed by Claire Norowzian. The animation is by Grizzle, directed by Tom Carpenter. The live-action footage was shot on location at Wanstead Flats, London.

King, creative director at ITV Creative, said: “With this campaign we wanted to connect authentically with fans and look forward to things to come.

The fact we have waited for over a year for this tournament means that fans have lots of pent-up excitement to share and we wanted to tap into that. Ian Wright is the perfect embodiment of joy. His passion for the game is what we wanted to communicate from the screen onto fans.”

Pipes, ITV Creative executive creative director, said that Wright’s love of the game was the anchor for the channel conveying the shared excitement that the tournament is finally here: “We were thinking, how do you show that explosion of football joy the Euros will bring? Well, you light the touch paper of Ian Wright, stand back and watch the fireworks.”

Freddie Littlewood, animation director at Grizzle, explained being on set was instrumental in achieving the ad’s look: “It was great to be able to offer our insight on set and to help make sure everything was shot with the animation already in mind.

We're especially proud of the sequence with the animals leaping out of the phone which was nothing but pure frame by frame animation. It was a mammoth undertaking, especially as we were working at the full 25 frames per second to really help the animation live in the same world as the filmed footage.”

The campaign launches today (28 May), and will feature activations across out of home, digital and social.

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