Rob Lowe, Danny Trejo star in new SoFi campaign with Rams mascot and one lucky fan
While live crowds are still a no-no at many National Football League venues across the country, one lucky fan in Los Angeles got a behind-the-scenes tour of the city’s recently constructed SoFi Stadium—and it was all captured on camera for SoFi’s newest digital campaign.
Filmed by the personal finance company’s in-house creative agency, in conjunction with Caveat and director Steve Mapp, the lighthearted video campaign titled “#1 Fan” stars Precious Ares, a Black queer woman who lives in Inglewood, Calif., where the stadium is located.
Together with avowed L.A. Rams fan Danny Trejo, the always-enthusiastic Rob Lowe and team mascot Rampage, the group explores the new stadium, while Ares—who is a real, long-standing SoFi customer—enjoys access to perks that even Lowe and Trejo can’t take advantage of.
“We really want to emphasize that the SoFi member is the true VIP at SoFi Stadium,” says SoFi Chief Marketing Officer Lauren Stafford Webb, who has focused heavily on increasing awareness of the company’s “outstanding member benefits.”
As part of a 20-year deal to append its name to the complex, SoFi offers a range of in-stadium perks to its members, including a dedicated stadium entrance, access to an exclusive lounge, free bag check services, and 10% cash back when using a SoFi Money debit card at the arena’s concession stands.
Centering on the state-of-the-art venue, the three-minute video ad, along with a handful of teasers of between 10 and 20 seconds, will launch nationally on SoFi’s social channels today and is set to run with paid amplification through the fall.
Now the permanent home of both the L.A. Rams and Chargers NFL teams—which relocated from St. Louis and San Diego ahead of the 2016 and 2017 football seasons, respectively—the stadium is the most expensive of its kind ever built, with a price tag in excess of $5 billion.
It opened less than a month ago as part of the larger Hollywood Park entertainment complex, albeit to little in-person fanfare given current social distancing protocols in California. (The co-tenants will play their home games behind closed doors until further notice).
“Sports are a key part of our marketing strategy,” Stafford Webb says; so integral that in 2016, when the company was just a five-year-old start-up, it shelled out millions for a 30-second Super Bowl ad. And while the height of a global pandemic might seem like an odd time to debut a football-centric campaign focused on a stadium that fans can’t currently enjoy, she notes that SoFi isn’t worried about longevity.
In addition to hosting L.A.’s two football teams, the venue will carry the SoFi name through several major events including the 2022 Super Bowl, 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2028 Olympics.
“Not having fans in the stadium right now is 100% the right call,” Stafford Webb says, adding that the company’s marketing approach will continue to emphasize digital content, rather than experiential, until it’s safe for fans to return.
Interestingly, with the exception of some easy-to-overlook background signage, SoFi’s latest ad does not mention the Chargers; since the former San Diego franchise relocated in 2017, some observers have doubted its viability in L.A.
Prior to the completion of SoFi Stadium, many Chargers home games at Dignity Health Sports Park—a low-capacity Major League Soccer venue—were overwhelmed by fans of visiting teams. And, as recently as last year, The Athletic reported that the NFL was concerned enough to consider moving the fledgling team to London on a full-time basis (Chargers owner Dean Spanos denied the suspicions at the time).
However, Stafford Webb notes that in light of the new celebrity-filled campaign’s focus on the Rams, SoFi plans to “celebrate both teams” going forward.