ITV's creative director Tony Pipes talks about its semi-animated Rugby World Cup campaign

In recent years there has been a trend by broadcasters to move towards the use of animation to promote major sporting tournaments and the same has been true of ITV as it pushes its coverage of the forthcoming Rugby World Cup, set to take in Japan. The BBC used embroidered graphics to create a tapestry for the Football tournament in 2018 while Pepsi’s half-time campaign as part of its sponsorship of the NFL has also aimed to blend animation with live-action.

In the UK, the last few weeks have seen the commercial broadcaster air its ‘Rise of the World Cup’ television campaign, supported with out of home creative, that blends live-action and Manga-style animated segments in an attempt to capture some of the culture of the country. The animation represents the dreamscape of rugby fans who fall asleep during their day as a result of watching the live-coverage, only to see giant humanoid robots running through Japanese city streets and a Street Fighter 2-like computer game featuring players from the tournament.

The pace is largely frenetic as the ad from Stink Studios aims to build excitement for the action that is set to unfold on viewers screens from 20 October.

“The brief was on the subject of dreams, and how everyone has different dreams. The challenge was to bring distinction between the dreams of the home nation ‘fans’ featured in the script,” explains ITV’s executive creative director, Tony Pipes. He goes on to explain that Stink took the brief and would bring “a rich knowledge of Japanese Anime” that allowed for the use of a range of animation styles; “which meant we could create different scenes by using the different styles as inspiration, while keeping the piece connected and understandable from a narrative point of view.”

Asked about why there has been an increase in animation to promote live sports of late, Pipes admits that the promotion of live events are always difficult as they haven’t yet happened.

“You can showcase the past with footage, but it doesn't bring the relevance or anticipation of the upcoming competition. Even when using talent or live-action, it's difficult to capture what is in the mind of fans and how visceral, physical and frantic a sport like Rugby is. Animation gives you free reign and the ability to heighten what you are promoting. That being said, the decision to use animation in this instance came from Japan and its legacy in the art form.”

Taking the dream analogy further, Pipes explains that the advert shows that this is the tournament rugby fans have dreamt about, with ITV bringing it to them in the UK for free.

As well as out of home activity, the creative will also be integrated within channel architecture in the build-up and during the tournament as well.

See the latest advertising and design work over on The Drum's Creative Works platform.

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