Behind the scenes of the LA Rams heist movie marketing effort
The campaign won in the Sports category at The Drum Awards for Marketing Americas 2023.
Credit: Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams took a page out of Hollywood’s book to create a trailer for an Ocean’s 11-esque flick.
The Los Angeles Rams pride themselves on doing things differently. Whereas most teams hold tight on to their future draft picks with a long-view strategy of building for the future, the Rams focused on filling their team roster with veteran players. As Rams’ GM, Les Snead, famously said, “F them picks.” And it worked. The Rams were Super Bowl champions.
However, this strategy also resulted in the team entering the next off-season with zero first- or second-round picks. They therefore had to build a creative campaign that would further elevate the brand, grow its fanbase and create a unique tentpole moment in the offseason.
The campaign was to be centered around a fake movie trailer for a heist film in the vein of Ocean’s 11 – parodying the idea that without any top picks going into this year’s draft, they’d once again need to get crafty and choose players in later rounds who would provide the best overall value. In other words, they were going to ’steal’ the draft.
By the end of 2022, the trailer had over 8m organic views and 600m impressions.
While the Los Angeles Rams held the most coveted trophy in their sport, they entered the 2022 NFL Draft once again with no first-round picks, which meant they were left out of the massive media coverage that surrounded the event. And so they went against the grain again and created their own drama around the draft, stealing back the attention of all sports fans with what one media personality described as “the greatest piece of content a sports team has ever made.”
They needed a piece of content that encapsulated the driving force behind Los Angeles. It had to weave the Rams brand into the creative spirit that built their city. It needed to exude the ethos of the entertainment capital of the world. It needed to become a new shining moment that Rams fans and partners alike could look forward to in the absence of a flashy new rookie. So why not combine all the drama, action and celebrity of a summer blockbuster into a piece of content that shows exactly what sets the LA Rams apart from the rest of the sports world?
That thinking led to the creation of On The Clock; a celebrity-filled, action-packed movie trailer with all the trappings of a Hollywood blockbuster. The premise of this film was that the Rams were going to ’steal’ the draft.
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From an execution standpoint, this had to be a misdirect at the highest level. This trailer had to feel like a completely real feature film. Every scene is a crafted homage to the heist film genre. Anything that felt inauthentic or too much like a commercial would quickly be overlooked or dismissed by our audience. With that in mind, the team pulled in several star players, front-office personnel and Hollywood stars like Dennis Quaid, Josh Holloway, Scott Eastwood and Tyrese Gibson to star. They then brought in award-winning director Paul Hunter and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Bob Richardson to bring the trailer together.
The level of craft and attention to detail paid off. Sports fans and movie fans all over the country viewed and shared the trailer and the Rams fielded thousands of requests to produce the full-length feature film. In its first 24 hours, the film garnered over 2m organic views and received praise from LA royalty like LeBron James. After that, the campaign truly became a 360 marketing effort that expanded to the LA streets with movie posters and out-of-home features. When the dust finally settled, the trailer had over 8m organic views and 600m impressions.