Iowa State Athletics - Bringing Cyclone Football’s “Win In The Dark” Theme To Life

Sometimes the most important work happens when no one is looking. That’s the idea behind Iowa State Football’s mantra, “Win In The Dark.”

It started with one player. Night after night, he searched for staff to open the Cyclone practice facility - after hours - so he could study game film long after everyone else had gone home. Soon, his teammates noticed, and one by one began doing their own extra work. After dark. And thus began, “Win In The Dark,” a theme that has come to define the culture within Iowa State Football.


Applied Art and Iowa State Athletics partnered once again on the production of this year’s football spot. The overarching goal of the spot is to sell season tickets, and beyond that to generate excitement and get Cyclone fans pumped up for the coming season. And there’s no better way to do that then to show the players working hard to earn that excitement - Win In The Dark.


Everything from the look of the spot, the sound design and editing were developed to show how each player interprets “Win In The Dark.” Creative Director, Eric Sarhmann, concepted the spot, established a look and feel and overall tone. Scenes were shot in the evening to give a late-night moodiness. Bug spray was used plentifully. Shooting on our Red Epic at off-speed adds drama to the shots of players working alone, after hours, when no one else is looking.


Writer, Clinton Olsasky, matched that tone with a stripped down narration. Producer, Heather Creswell, coordinated the production with our client, Associate Athletics Director for Marketing Mary Pink. And editor, Michael Rossow, cut the spot and applied color grading.


The players were great to work with, giving it their all take after take. It is always fun to get that behind the scenes glimpse of this Big 12 college football program. The spot began airing on broadcast channels August 1st and can be found on Iowa State Athletics social channels.


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