Rams Focus on Families in New Ad Campaign

Posted Aug 1, 2012

Most kids who grow up idolizing various sports stars will at some point or another spend their fair share of time imitating those players in the backyard or in neighborhood pickup games.

For a local group of kids right here in St. Louis, the opportunity to emulate their favorite Rams was recently elevated from the backyard to a television near you.

This week, the Rams will roll out their 2012 marketing campaign, a campaign that is as homemade as toasted raviolis, Ted Drewes frozen custard and a milkshake from Crown Candy Kitchen.

With the help of some handpicked members of the Kirkwood-Webster Junior Football League, the Rams and their new advertising partner, locally-owned agency Boxing Clever, recently finished filming a series of what will become six to eight commercial spots featuring the young football players in starring roles as their Rams’ doppelgangers.

“What we wanted to do this year with our advertising campaign, our overall marketing strategy is really to target families with everything we do on the marketing side,” Brian Killingsworth, the Rams Vice President of Marketing and Brand Strategy, said. “Our biggest growth opportunity here is to attract more families to the Edward Jones Dome and help them really become emotionally connected to the Rams through everything we do on and off the field. So for us, the way to tell that story the best is to create a campaign that utilizes local kids, looking up to their heroes. So this campaign was developed with that strategy in mind.”

What that entailed was a not so normal workday in which Killingsworth and his staff, the Boxing Clever staff and local band Greek Fire were joined on the Arch grounds by diminutive versions of the likes of Sam Bradford, Danny Amendola, James Laurinaitis, Chris Long and Steven Jackson.

Each kid was chosen not only based on their position in relation to the player they were going to become but also based on their resemblance to those players. Some of the kids even bear a striking resemblance to their NFL counterparts such as Bobby Conroy in the role of Laurinaitis and Gage Mize starring as Bradford.

Upon arrival, the kids were instructed to mimic various signature plays and actions of the player they represented. With little to no error, the kids pulled it off and had a blast doing it.

“The marketing team and agency went out to one of their practices and scouted out some kids we thought resembled our stars,” Killingsworth said. “The kids did a tremendous job and they pulled it off. We showed it to some of our players and they were really impressed by the commercials and the kids.”

The commercial spots will begin airing this week with the season ticket spots starting first and flex plan spots in the near future. The commercials will air with a little bit of a different twist, as they won’t be seen on just the standard football advertising standbys.

“A lot of the media that we’ll do is really targeted toward mom type programming,” Killingsworth said. “It’s outside of the normal standard of what you would do for a typical media buy for a sports team. It’s more thinking outside of the box, more grassroots type efforts, really getting involved at places like the Magic House and Lifetime Fitness and having these real strategic partnerships with organizations that really do a great job of targeting kids. That is how we want to expand the Rams brand.”

In addition, this year’s campaign also denotes a strong bond being formed within the community.

The team announced its partnership with Boxing Clever last week. Boxing Clever is a St. Louis-based agency with a staff of about 20 people working to help their clients create visceral connections to their brands.

Boxing Clever also works with the Fox Theatre, the Science Center, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and a number of other beacons of the St. Louis community.

“The reasons we chose them are because they are St. Louis based and because they are very fun and innovative and that’s what our brand is all about,” Killingsworth said. “The growth space we are in, we want people to have fun and realize the emotional connection they can have with the Rams and how it’s a fun loving, innovative brand. So they match what we are trying to do on the marketing side perfectly.”

The choice of local rockers Greek Fire also fit in line with what the marketing team is looking to accomplish with this campaign.

“They are a local, upcoming band with a lot of talent,” Killingsworth said. “It’s a good, young band that is just on the verge of superstardom and we are excited to help grow their presence as well.”

Beyond the new advertising campaign, Killingsworth and his staff are looking to find even more ways to establish connections with local institutions that cater to kids and families.

In the near future, the Rams hope to announce partnerships with the Magic House and Lifetime Fitness for some events geared toward kids and families in conjunction with cornerstone NFL projects like Play 60.

The connection to kids and families is also evident in the recent promotional schedule the team just announced which includes giveaways for kids such as Bradford and Laurinaitis bobblehead dolls, a Jeff Fisher mustache giveaway and a Switchfoot concert.

“Ultimately, we really want to connect with the family unit and try to recapture the excitement that can go with Rams football,” Killingsworth said. “We want families to be able to create those memories that they’ll never forget.”