Sport is life in ESPN's heart-pumping ad

Thrilling scenes of football, Formula One and more ramp up in ESPN push from Preacher promoting live TV

Published On
Aug 27, 2022

Editor's Pick

When it comes to sports, there’s nothing like seeing the competition unfold in real-time. That’s the thinking behind ESPN’s (literally) heart-pumping ad centered on watching football, basketball, tennis and more on live TV.

Scenes of competition—Clemson Tigers quarterback DJ Uiagalele storms onto the field; 2021 Formula One world champ Max Emilian Verstappen speeds around the track; the Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant leaps to the basket; Emma Raducanu raises her arms in victory at the U.S. Open—are set against audio of a heart beating, the pace accelerating as each frame cuts in with increasing velocity. The effect is exhilarating, sucking the viewer into the thrill of the action. 

Copy reads, “Catch every moment in the moment—Watch live. Feel alive.”

According to Preacher Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Rob Baird, “What stuck out to us was that there's a very real physical response to watching live versus watching after.” He cited a study that found that TV viewers’ heart rates increased by an average of 75% when watching sports on TV. 

“There’s something about being in that moment,” he added. The campaign is centered on a strategy of “can’t live without live sports,” and is a “reminder to sports fans of this very real feeling that you only get when you watch live.”

"We basically set out to communicate that a life without live sports isn't one worth living— dramatic, we know, but we wanted to raise fans' blood pressure the same way sports do," said Executive Creative Director Greg Hunter.

The Preacher team worked with editor and director Mike Sobo of Uppercut, who trained under Oscar-nominated editor Hank Corwin (“Big Short,” “Vice,” “Natural Born Killers”). 

“Setting the spot to the rhythm of an ever-increasing pulse came first,” added Executive Creative Director Kellyn Blount. “The jump-cut editing technique to make the footage itself ‘beat’ was the icing on the cake. The ‘Watch live. Feel alive’ line—well I guess that's the ganache."