Ignition Creative Launches Iconic Monday Night Football Show Opener on ESPN

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Ignition Creative, the multi-disciplinary transmedia powerhouse, kicked off a Peter Berg directed launch package for ESPN's premiere sports series Monday Night Football (MNF). The spot debuted September 9 before the Philadelphia Eagles-Washington Redskins game on ESPN.

Ignition Creative, the multi-disciplinary transmedia powerhouse, kicked off a Peter Berg directed launch package for ESPN's premiere sports series Monday Night Football (MNF). The spot debuted September 9 before the Philadelphia Eagles-Washington Redskins game on ESPN.

Conceived and directed by award-winning filmmaker Peter Berg under the Pony Show Entertainment shingle, the spot was executed by Ignition Creative under Ignition Partners/Creative Directors Martin Kistler and Goktug Sarioz and VP/Producer Carrie Wiltshire who led its Motion Design team on the project. The 90-second launch spot hurtles viewers through a chronological collage of rapid-fire visuals highlighting MNF's iconic role in the American experience. Starting with the show's groundbreaking first broadcast in 1970 featuring the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, the spot takes audiences through unforgettable finishes and record-setting plays, underscoring MNF as a time-honored American brand.

Berg wanted to create a compelling human story spanning generations. To realize his vision Berg and Pony Show teamed up with Ignition Creative. Ignition creates lasting brand experiences, using technology and storytelling to promote brands beyond traditional media channels. The company recently expanded its motion design group, investing in new creative and technical talent in recent months and launching an advanced production facility in Playa Vista, CA.

Ignition was brought into the project while it was working on a separate main title project with director Berg. According to Ignition founder Martin Kistler, “Ignition’s past collaborations with Peter Berg have always been very successful. Based on that relationship, Peter invited us to participate in the MNF pitch. It was an extensive process requiring many storyboards and intense interaction among the players." Berg’s pitch was selected by ESPN. The network then brought MNF launch sponsor GMC into the mix. Says Kistler, “We were very careful to balance branding objectives of MNF, ESPN and GMC and integrate them with Peter’s concept. In the end we brought a visceral narrative together with a highly detailed motion graphics treatment that allowed us to demonstrate our company’s core strength: great visual storytelling.”

Ignition's cross-functional project team supplied a range of creative and technical expertise including design, style frames, storyboards, 2D and 3D animation, live action production, CG, compositing, motion graphics, finishing and editorial. Berg wanted to move away from classic slick broadcast sports graphics for the spot. According to Ignition Partner and Creative Director Goktug Sarioz, “What excited me about the MNF project was the chance to link popular culture with heritage in a tasteful, authentic way. The combination of Ignition’s editorial and motion design work and Peter’s masterful sense of storytelling brought that heritage to life.”

Working closely with ESPN's creative and technical teams headed by Bob Toms (VP, Product Enhancements, ESPN) and Michael “Spike” Szykowny (Senior Director of Motion Graphics, ESPN), the production team scoured archives for iconic video, still images and sounds from the show as well as contemporary news footage of central events in U.S. history, pop culture, music, movies, television and politics. Highlights include legendary MNF plays, players and commentators, including John Lennon's memorable quip about MNF to host Howard Cosell, “It makes rock concerts look like tea parties." Show imagery includes Ronald Reagan, the Pac-Man videogame character, Madonna, Darth Vader, the solemn aftermath of 9/11 and the rise of social media in the mid-2000's. The spot concludes with Calvin Johnson's spectacular catch for the Detroit Lions that set the NFL single season receiving record in December 2012.

Carrie Wiltshire, Ignition Creative’s VP/Producer and avid football fan, is particularly excited about the MNF package as a model for future motion design opportunities. Says Wiltshire, “It was not just a matter of putting graphics cards between live action clips. Instead, editorial and graphics worked together, feeding off each other, to come up with a unified visual story for MNF. Under Peter Berg’s direction, the Ignition motion design team came up with an insanely creative piece that reinforces ESPN, MNF and GMC as quintessential American brands.”

Celebrated for his critically acclaimed series Friday Night Lights, Director Berg is no stranger to sports-themed storytelling. A passionate MNF fan since his boyhood in the Northeast U.S., Berg's 2012 NFL Super Bowl spot focused on the evolution of safety and progress in the game. Berg found the MNF launch project a natural fit for his style of storytelling. “MNF was part of my family experience. Sitting with my dad, watching every Monday night,” adds Berg, “There really is a cultural significance,” to MNF. The show, he says, “has been a steadying influence on all of our lives...It’s a cultural reference point.”

Spotlighting launch sponsor GMC's longtime affiliation with the series, the piece showcases GMC's new 2014 Sierra Denali truck. Following its premiere, the spot will run at 8:25 p.m. ET, prior to each MNF kickoff. Each presentation of the spot in the 17-game fall schedule will feature game highlights, new historical and show milestones and NFL team visual branding.

About Ignition Creative
Ignition Creative is an award-winning creative company that pioneers new forms of storytelling with technology. The company’s cross-functional teams create unique brand experiences that are meaningful, entertaining, useful and beautiful. Ignition consists of four groups: Audio/Visual, Interactive, Print and Motion Design. Ignition has received numerous awards for campaigns for features such as Django Unchained, Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, Hunger Games and Prometheus and broadcast shows including Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Arrested Development. Founded in 2003, Ignition has 200 employees with offices in Playa Vista, CA and in London, UK. http://www.ignitioncreative.net


Client: ESPN
Vice President, Product Enhancements, ESPN: Bob Toms
Senior Director of Motion Graphics, ESPN: Michael “Spike” Szykowny

Ignition Creative
Partner / Creative Director: Martin Kistler
Partner / Creative Director: M. Goktug Sarioz
VP / Producer: Carrie Wiltshire
Creative Director / Editor: Carsten Becker
Art Directors: Jennifer Lee, Ralph Smith
Design & Animation: Oguz Akin, Emily Eckstein, Jyoteen Majmudar, Eric Peschel
Producers: Rebecca Ramsey, Matt Silverman
Coordinator: Eric Kirchner
Assistant Editor: Kent Cook
CG Artists: Wayne England, Johnny Diaz
Compositors: Joel Ashman, Tony La Torre

Pony Show Entertainment - Production Company
Director: Peter Berg
Executive Producers: Jeffrey Frankel, Susan Kirson

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Rebecca Ramsey