The Ashes

A bold depiction of the historic rivalry between England and Australia manifests itself as a mural formed from iconic moments. A challenging creative for a number of reasons. The brief was to represent both sides evenly using footage from events covered only by Sky Sports (since 2005). Problematic as archive footage would vary from 4x3 to 16x9, SD to HD and in many cases be handheld with erratic camera pans.

The process started with an edit of carefully selected moments to a predetermined duration. A great number of the clips required stabilisation, up-scaling resolution and clean-up in order to even be considered usable. Having shortlisted contemporary artists we thought would best capture the sports passion, energy and character likeness, we commissioned Florian Nicolle, to paint a selection of frames from our edit, as well as additional assets such as the captains portraits, the Ashes urn and Sky Sports logo. These were supplied as layers from various stages of the painting process, unpicked and animated mirroring Florian’s same approach to paint on canvas. To add scale and purpose to this collage of cricket, we filmed an actress artist for setup and cut-away scenes of the sequence. Both green screen and real life rushes were shot, in various takes actually recreating the artwork itself on a 1:1 scale.

The music applied to the title is a recreation of England’s famous walk-out anthem, Jerusalem, re-composed specifically for the sequence duration, then layered with sound effects and commentary from the corresponding moments.

In a bid to elevate the women’s game, their multi-format version of the Ashes (which ran weeks before the mens), also received the same treatment. A similar version of this creative was designed highlighting the stars from both teams set against yet another bespoke music score, their walk-out anthem, Hero’s.


Role: Design Director
Agency: Sky Creative
Client: Sky Sports
Director: Adam Wells
Post Production: Coffee & TV