Los Angeles Rams fans were set up for an exciting offseason. Marketing-wise, this was an organization with no identity and awkwardly stuck between two eras. Ever since the Rams moved from St. Louis, it was well-known that the organization would get a new logo and new uniforms heading into So-Fi Stadium.
Well, we’ve got one. Now we are just waiting on the other.
The Logo Reaction
The first of the two didn’t go over well. The overall consensus is that fans don’t like the new logo to say the least. Most have been ok with the “Rams-head”, but when it comes to the LA with the split horn coming over the top, it’s been a no-go.
It’s largely because of that initial reaction to the logo that fans seem to have a pre-determined negative reaction to the uniforms, some of which have been caused by fan-made templates played off as leaks.
Imagine hating a movie you’ve been waiting three years for before ever even seeing it and you’ve only ever seen poorly made fan-made trailers. As of right now, that’s the best way to describe how fans are reacting to the uniforms. There seems to be all of this hate, but yet, nobody has a clue what the helmet or jersey are going to look like. Nobody has seen the movie, but are giving it a review.
It’s fine to not like the uniform when it is eventually released. All of that is subjective. People like different things and have different tastes, but fants would be doing the entire process and themselves an injustice by going in already hating them.
An Expected Change
It shouldn’t be shocking to see a major change. As mentioned above, this is a team that brand-wise, needed a major shakeup. After moving to Los Angeles, the team did their best to get rid of the “St. Louis Gold”. All that resulted in was wearing a helmet that didn’t match the rest of the uniform and keeping the St. Louis Ram head as the logo, and again, just changing the color.
That was never going to happen this offseason.
The Rams weren’t going to use the old logo and just change the colors or re-use a logo from the older eras. The same can be said for the uniforms. The Rams were never going to keep the throwback uniforms and just add a white. The front office didn’t spend three years on a re-brand to make minor changes.
What it eventually comes down to, is expectations. What was expected? This wasn’t a re-design. This has always been a much-needed re-brand. And there’s a big difference in the two. A re-design is what the Rams did in this “stop-gap era” that they’ve been in while transitioning from St. Louis to LA. Changing the horn from gold to white? That was a redesign.
However, when a team changes cities, it requires a complete rebrand. The Rams weren’t just going to change colors or go back to a logo that was designed in the 70s. As previously stated, the Rams helmets haven’t matched the rest of their uniforms for the last two years. This team wasn’t going to reveal uniforms with the idea of “here’s the same ‘throwback’ blue uniform we’ve been wearing, now here’s a white one.”
This was a team that has spent the better part of three years on this process. To expect anything less than a complete overhaul was not understanding the process.
When the Rams moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis in 1995, the team got rid of the classic “helmet logo” and overhauled it to say “Rams” with the St. Louis arch in the background. When a fan looked at that logo, they knew the Rams were in St. Louis.
A short time later, the organization and front office did a complete overhaul on the “Rams head” and made it more of a cartoon figure and changed the yellow to metallic gold. The team had this reflected on the uniforms, and even more notably, the horn on the helmet was switched from the yellow to metallic gold – a color that had no previous history with the team.
The Rams got rid of everything the Los Angeles Rams stood for and made it the St. Louis Rams.
To not change the logo or only change the colors, as a brand, would have still stood for a time in St. Louis. This team needed something that said Los Angeles and pointed towards the future. Love it or hate it, that’s exactly what the new logo and new uniforms will represent.
A Progressive Change
California is arguably the most progressive state in the United States and everything that the Rams have done speaks directly to that as an organization. The Rams were the first team to sport a logo on the helmet. They were the first team to sign an African American player in the National Football League. The Rams were the first team to draft an openly gay player. Everything the Rams have done as an organization speaks to that progression.
Who knows how the logo on the helmet went over in 1948? Signing an African American player to a professional sports team in 1946 probably wasn’t very popular. Not a lot of people were pleased when the Rams drafted Michael Sam. Despite all that, the Rams have been a model for the rest of the NFL to follow. This franchise has always been a leader for new ideas.
Bring on a split helmet, bring on a gradient on the numbers. New ideas are something that this organization has always been open to. If the Rams are the only team to sport a gradient on the number, it could end up being something that more teams end up following.
A Marketing Failure
While all the points above are valid, that’s not to say the Rams haven’t messed up the process in one key aspect: marketing.
From a marketing standpoint, this whole process as been a complete and total failure. There is not one fan base that is more passionate and has been more excited about uniforms as the Los Angeles Rams fanbase. For three years fans have been waiting.
However, while Buccaneers fans got multiple hype videos before their uniform release, Chargers fans were given a players reaction video to theirs, and Falcons fans were given a date, Rams fans have been given absolutely nothing.
The same can be said about the logo. Fans were excited to see the logo. However, it wasn’t announced that it was going to be released until the Friday before and it was only released presumably because the infamous draft hat got leaked.
Yes, there is no question a virtual release is not what the Rams would have wanted. A big event with players and season ticket holders would have been ideal. However, the United States has been dealing with COVID-19 since February. It’s time to adjust.
This was a great marketing opportunity for the Rams, even just on social media, and they have blown it over and over again.
What Can Fans Expect
When it comes to the new uniforms, there are things that fans can expect. The uniforms are going to be blue and yellow which is what fans have wanted from the start. That’s good news. From there, depending on your stance, is where it will get better or worse.
Going off of the Rams logo, there is a good chance that there is a gradient somewhere on the uniform. Whether it’s just the numbers, on the lines, or on the actual jersey itself like the Atlanta Falcons its uncertain. However, there is a very good chance that the uniform has the gradient as that seems to be a big part of the new Los Angeles Rams brand.
It’s going to be interesting what the Rams do with the horn. Kevin Demhoff has said that the horn was the thing that they told Nike was the most important. Do the Rams go a split horn on the helmet to give it a more modern look or with the split horn just be a minor touch around the arms or the shoulders of the uniform?
The split horn seems to be another key aspect of the rebrand, but it’ll be curious to see if the front office does mess with the horns on the helmet.
From there, the rest is anybody’s guess.
What to Make of the Rebrand
Every aspect of this re-brand hasn’t gone over well for the Rams organization. However, that is somewhat to be expected. When it comes to change, especially with something that is seen as a tradition, it’s not something people tend to like.
The Rams re-brand may not be exactly what fans wanted, but the brand change that the Rams have gone through should have been expected. The team did the exact same thing when they moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis. This is an organization that needs a brand identity and they’re in the process of finding it.
It may not be perfect. It may not be exactly what fans wanted. But maye we can all at least give it a chance.