CARSON, Calif. — With a bold new advertising campaign, Chivas USA are hoping to make a bold statement that the Los Angeles soccer market doesn’t just belong to the LA Galaxy.
Chivas USA have launched their first outdoor advertising campaign called “Belong” (or “Únete” in Spanish) with photos of Chivas USA players in front of a silhouetted Los Angeles skyline against an orange dusk sky.
The ads are part of a major outdoor and television campaign designed to create interest for a Chivas USA team that has historically been overshadowed by the Galaxy.
With the ad campaign and new major jersey sponsor, Mexican beer giant Corona, Chivas USA appear eager to show that the team belongs in the Los Angeles sport scene. Part of making an impact on the bloated Los Angeles sports scene is challenged the LA Galaxy not only on the field, but in the hearts and pocket books of Angelenos.
Chivas USA take on the Galaxy in the first SuperClásico matchup of the year on Saturday (10 pm ET, ESPN2/Deportes).
“We thought it was important to communicate to our fans and the community what Chivas USA is about,” Chivas USA vice president of marketing and sponsorship Rodrigo Morales said. “We’re not rebuilding, but we’re building something new, which is something that our coach Robin Fraser preaches. So our marketing campaign is in line with what is happening on the field.”
Morales has led this new Chivas USA campaign since accepting the marketing and sponsorship role with the Rojiblancos earlier in the year after spending several years in the same capacity with CD Guadalajara. Following several campaigns that Morales admitted were not successful, he believes that this bold campaign is helping bring fans to Chivas USA.
In order to enhance the rivalry with the Galaxy, one week prior to Saturday’s SuperClásico, the Rojiblancos fired a major salvo at their cross-hall rivals. In billboards and television spots shown around Los Angeles, a cheering Chivas USA fan is shown paired next to a Galaxy-adorned mannequin with the slogan, “Real Passion and Artificial Passion.”
Next to the picture is an image of Heath Pearce taking a corner kick alongside another mannequin dressed in a Galaxy strip posing to take a free kick with the declaration, “Real Action and Artificial Action.”
The billboards are peppered throughout the city, including one on a major freeway route into the Home Depot Center, and are also showcased in the club’s television promotion for the match. As the promotion campaign for the SuperClásico has progressed, the Galaxy images were eventually replaced by an ad focusing solely on the Chivas USA images, declaring Chivas USA as “Real Passion and Real Action.”
For a team that has long since lived in the shadow of the Galaxy, the campaign is an important step in the club’s six-year growth.
“We’re very happy with our heritage as part of Chivas, which extends 104 years, while our rival is building a fan base with huge investments of money for players,” Morales said. “We feel that we are the real passion for soccer with this history and colors while also building this heritage here in the US.
“Chivas USA may have been in the league for six years while the Galaxy has been a part of MLS since the league’s inception, “ he added, “but they have been built a fan base that is solid, but yet completely different from our own.”
Before the focus turns away from the billboards and onto the field, Morales promises that the team has a “big surprise” for fans prior to the start of the SuperClásico that will echo the sentiments of the advertisements.
Clearly one to try and rile up the cross-hall rivals, Morales made a bold declaration.
“You’re going to want to have your cameras out for this surprise,” he said. “You won’t want to miss it.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano