Sports fans haven’t had many reasons for excitement in 2020, with several keystone events canceled and seasons delayed. Even when sports like basketball have seemed on the path to returning to normal, new rounds of Covid-19 infections made each subsequent week uncertain.
But for now, optimism reigns as the NFL regular season prepares to begin Sept. 10. The league has put a variety of infection-control measures in place, such as a ban on cheerleaders and mascots on the field, so it won’t be quite like business as usual, but football fans will definitely take what they can get.
To capture the enthusiasm for football’s return, ESPN and agency Arts & Letters Creative Co. have launched a heart-lifting (but tongue-in-cheek) spot called “Ready for Football.”
While the ad features a wide array of athletes, coaches, fictional characters and personalities, the true star is the voice of Celine Dion, whose 1996 ballad “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” powers the emotionally cathartic ad.
“The message behind ‘Ready for Football’ rings especially true this year given the intense emotional journey fans have experienced these past several months,” said Laura Gentile, svp of marketing for ESPN. “Our creative approach reflects how we are all–now more than ever–feeling, as we crave football and show fans, players, coaches, teams and ESPN all coming together to rejoice, reflect and exhale.”
The agency behind the spot is relatively new to the creative scene. Arts & Letters Creative Co. was founded in 2017 by Charles Hodges, a veteran of TBWA\Media Arts Lab, Wieden+Kennedy New York and Google Lab.
Arts & Letters debuted its first work on the ESPN account last year with the emotional anthem “There’s No Place Like Sports.”
Laura Gentile, Senior Vice President, ESPN Marketing
Emeka Ofodile, Vice President, ESPN Sports Marketing
Curtis Friends, Senior Director, ESPN Sports Marketing
David Dessau, Manager, ESPN Sports Marketing
Lauren Gorajek Manager, ESPN Sports Marketing
Carly Rotatori, Coordinator, ESPN Sports Marketing
Chantre Camack, Director, Talent Production
Sharee Stephens, Associate Director, Talent Production
Agency: Arts & Letters Creative Co.
Charles Hodges, Executive Creative Director
Molly Jamison, Creative Director
Scott Hayes, Creative
Eric Steele, Creative
Tanner McColl, Creative
Dixon Muller, Creative
Letitia Jacobs, Director of Production
Keith Jamerson, Executive Producer
Rebecca Wilmer, Executive Producer
Griffin Morrow, Assistant Producer
Rich Weinstein, Managing Director
Theo Abel, Business Director
Martin Madriaga, Business Manager
Andy Grayson, Director of Strategy
Zach Wootton, Strategist
Lenora Cushing, Director of Business Affairs
Jennifer Kmetzsch, Business Affairs
Editorial: Arts & Letters Creative Co.
Pat Blumer, Editor
Matt Doe, Editor
Sho Kellam, Assistant Editor
Whitney Green, Executive Producer
Libbie Crane, Producer
Ryan Dunstan, Assistant Producer
The Malloys, Director
Rebecca Skinner, Managing Director / EP
Michelle Ross, Managing Director / Head of Sales
Charlotte Woodhead, Executive Producer
Matt Sanders, Head of Production
Alexandra Lisee, Line Producer
Color/Finishing: Madbox Made
Matthew West, Colorist
Macy West, Producer
Audio Mix: Overcoast Music + Sound
Matt Whitworth, Audio Mixer
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