The Sun Drops Soccer Balls

The Sun, England’s tabloid newspaper, waded into the soccer season in August with a spectacular effects-driven TV advert featuring footballs being dropped from helicopters over London. A fleet of helicopters, piloted by sexy women with Sun badges, blanket bombs London with white and black footballs. On the streets below pedestrians and commuters adjust to a six feet deep layer of balls. “When you love football this much, you just want to share it with the world.”

Balls fall from helicopters in Sun football TV ad

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube


“We’ve Got Balls” was developed at Brothers & Sisters, London, by creative director Andy Fowler, creatives Sam Washington and Mark Harris and agency producer Jacky Bateman.

Filming was shot by Richard Loncraine via 2am Films, London, with producers Matthew Kitchen and Aly Moffat. Loncraine had one helicopter, six pilots and 5302 footballs to work with.

Visual effects were developed at Moving Picture Company, London, by producers Justin Brukman and Andrew Bell, VFX supervisor Nick Bennett, colorist Mark Gethin, VFX team Stirling Archibald, Ric Comline, Martin Cook, Ali Dixon, Lewis Guarniere, Leila Smith and Mark Stannard.

MPC developed computer generated helicopters for the spot, building 3D models and compositing them into the original cityscape later in Flame. Nets containing thousands of balls were hung on rigs and cranes. The nets were then opened and this release of balls was captured on camera to be later integrated into the back plates. The compositing team also used matte paintings of fields, surrounding countryside and the sky which was then added in. The sea of footballs featured at the end of the ad was also enhanced.

The final camera pull back from the city is entirely 2D, and was completed in After Effects. Cloud particles and the football itself were given a specific treatment to mirror the 3D animated elements. The camera pull back itself transitions from a real camera move into a virtual camera move which was also created in after effects. Planet Earth and London scenery consist of extensive matte paintings.

Helicopter pilot in Sun football TV ad

Balls almost cover a bus in Sun football TV ad

Music is “Oh Yeah”, by the Subways.

Well, everytime I feel you’re coming round, you’re going down
You hit the ground with every force, it makes no sense or sound
God bless your soul girl
Now you got the whole world
I’m on my way now
I’ll get there somehow

Have you ever seen the light?
Don’t you wonder where I hide?
I will live, then I will die
I will keep you on my mind

It’s your eyes that make me smile, oh yeah oh yeah
Wasting time, hanging out, oh yeah oh yeah
These teenage years, no they don’t last, oh yeah oh yeah
These teenage lips, they speak too fast, oh yeah oh yeah

I see the light that’s shining from your eyes, blinding me
It’s like I’m walking down your street again at seventeen