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Ian Wright restores color to a drab world in psychedelic Euro 2020 curtain-raiser

ITV Creative is restoring some color to a drab world courtesy of football legend-turned-pundit Ian Wright, who is on a pied-piper-like mission to draw people out of their homes and on to the football pitch.

The in-house agency is working to build anticipation for the delayed Euro 2020 campaign, which is belatedly kicking off this year after being scuppered by the pandemic.

Directed by Claire Norowzian, the 40-second commercial sees a bowler cap-wearing Wright saunter on to a gritty housing estate, only for his noggin to explode in a riot of cartoon color, enlivening the monochrome scene with a psychedelic rainbow riot as confused residents peer out their windows to see what’s happening on their streets.

Fortunately, this animation is merely representative of the joy that the beautiful game can bring to fans. ‘The Good Times Start Here’ seeks to rekindle the nation’s love affair with sport and build anticipation for the broadcaster’s long-awaited coverage this June.

Shot on location at Wanstead Flats, London, the artfully-shot work combines live-action with hand-drawn animation by Grizzle for a distinctive aesthetic mash-up that seeks to convey the euphoria associated with top-flight football.

Rachel 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 to fans, and Claire and the team at Grizzle made this stand out on screen in an original way aesthetically.”

Freddie Littlewood, animation director at Grizzle, adds: “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 help the animation live in the same world as the filmed footage.”

On air from May 28, the campaign will be backed by simultaneous messaging across out-of-home, digital and social channels. This follows moves by TikTok to capitalize on its sponsorship of the tournament with its own inimitable blend of football highlights and user-generated content.