Zlatan Ibrahimović raising his arms in defiance. Ola Kamara defying gravity with a well-timed leap. Romain Alessandrini doing heart-shaped hands.
If you’ve driven around the city this year, you’ve seen them. From the San Gabriel Valley to the Beach Cities and in-between, the landscape has become dotted with LA Galaxy billboards. The colorful adverts have won over a fanbase eager for the Guillermo Barros Schelotto era to kick off in March.
They weren’t always so slick. Take a journey with us down memory lane as we examine how a promising idea eventually transformed into a signature advertising campaign.
2015-2017: The First Attempts
When the Galaxy began putting up billboards en masse, the reaction was subdued. The images weren’t bad, but at a time when LAFC didn’t exist in the public consciousness of Angelenos, the billboards lacked a definitive purpose, almost as if the club was doing marketing for marketing’s sake.
The Steven Gerrard billboard was probably the worst offender. As Otto from The Simpsons would say, “That is flagrant false advertising”.
1) Gerrard was not great.
2) Gerrard was not handcrafted in Los Angeles. Sure I get it was a reference to LA’s youth talent, but what does that even mean to handcraft a player? Gerrard is not a Chipotle burrito.
2018: The Year of El Trafico
With LAFC kicking off their own era inside that 350 million dollar gaudy monstrosity, the organization would need to deliver an improved product in order to compete with the sea of hype.
They succeeded. The ‘Since 96’ theme resonated with Galaxy fans, including a clever nod to the past in the form of green accents accompanying the yellows and blues. While the message itself was slightly defensive in nature, it worked as a worthy precursor to this year’s winners.
The #LAGalaxy apparently used all that money they saved signing #zLAtan to a TAM deal on blanketing LA with billboards. The Spanglish on the Dos Santos Brothers billboard was a nice touch. #MLS #LaLaClasico pic.twitter.com/cseoD1wrGy— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) March 29, 2018
The Zlatan billboards were genius. For the first time, LA’s aerial advertising blitz went viral. Twitter prominently featured the campaign in a slideshow. (At one point we were contacted by a representative from a major sports network on the side of the road imploring us to share the locations!)
After riding the wave of LAFC hype mostly unscathed, the Galaxy appear well-poised to rebound on and off the field this year. In a few weeks time a new and improved organization will unveil a David Beckham statue and open a community field in downtown LA before battling the Chicago Fire at home.
Cool, confident and colorful, this year’s billboards reflect the city itself as well as the club’s resurgent optimism.
What do you think of this year’s billboards? Let us know in the comments!