The spirit of Notre Dame is coming to a television near you.
A new commercial featuring close to 500 of the school’s students will air on ESPN on Monday night when the top-ranked Fighting Irish take on Alabama at the BCS national championship game in Miami. The ad was produced by Explore Media, a video production company headquartered in Elkhart.
“They say that last year 27 million people watched the game,” South Bend-born executive producer Jeremy Pinckert said. “Two years ago, 30 million watched the game, and they’re expecting more than 30 million viewers from what I’ve read because it’s such a high profile game.”
“A Message from the Students of Notre Dame” will be broadcast nationally during a commercial break Monday night. In the meantime, the 35-second commercial is available online at www.nd.edu.
Notre Dame contacted Pinckert with an idea for the ad and filmed the TV spot at the university’s campus Dec. 7. Pinckert, who grew up selling programs at Notre Dame Stadium for football games, had previously worked with the university on a series of web videos and sports features on student athletes.
The commercial shows students excitedly marching to Notre Dame Stadium and lighting candles. The last scene is a wider shot of the students forming a number one in the stands with the words “in student-athlete graduation rate” and “in our hearts forever” flashing next to them.
“Those were real moments of joy and excitement heading down into the stadium and going up into the stands,” Pinckert said. “Those were some magic moments.”
The university recruited the students through an open casting call, Notre Dame spokeswoman Beth Grisoli said. Grisoli said it will be exciting to see the commercial on television when it airs next week.
“The response that we’re getting is really positive,” she said. “The students really like it, and we’re getting really nice, positive comments from graduates who are really excited about the whole game, and they’re just really happy about the message it portrays.”