This ad for Three Ireland’s sponsorship of the Irish Rugby team focuses on an element of the game that is often disregarded in the machismo of professional sport – nerves. This image focuses on that individual moment just before a key kick, that moment when literally millions of eyes are on Johnny Sexton; some willing him on, many willing him to fail. If he can hold his nerve and make the kick, chances are Ireland will succeed.
It was extremely important that this moment felt ‘true’. It would require incredible craft, care and skill to manipulate the image without overpowering the photography. We worked closely with retouchers, Happy Finish, to achieve the correct balance.
We used hundreds of butterflies, as a visual metaphor for Sexton’s nerves. Each one painstakingly retouched so he appears to be dramatically breaking apart. His head is bowed towards the ball to show the introspective nature of the moment. The line ‘All it takes is holding your nerve’ encapsulates what he has to do to succeed and is an extrapolated version of the campaign line ‘All it takes is everything’.