Saturday’s “El Clásico” against Real Madrid and FC Barcelona was the 1st match and overture in the series of 4 matches between these two footballs institutions. Although the upcoming matches – the domestic cup and Champions League semis – might have more importance, Saturday’s league match had the 2nd biggest TV audience in the history of “El Clásicos”. More than 11 million TV spectators (11.123.000 in average and 12.666.000 on the top) tuned in to the big game from Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid.
The numbers – which demonstrate just part of the larger picture – prove that “El Clásico” is special; it generates special emotions, provokes fan engagement and drives the sports industry. It’s almost impossible to stay indifferent when speaking about Real Madrid and Barcelona. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when I was reading the articles after the match: pro-Real media (Marca, As etc.) had their reasons for the draw, pro-Barça media (Mundo Deportivo, Sport etc.) had their reasons for not winning the match, but in general it was like they were talking about a different game.
However, good, honest and original communication has the power to overcome all the barriers and also the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Audi, the only brand which sponsors both clubs, has activated its sponsorship with a great idea of including both clubs in one commercial. It might be hard to imagine how to unite the opponents in one ad (below), but the result of Audi’s quirky communication is just great and nice to see.
Adidas is the second company, which used “El Clásico” (final cup match) as a united sponsorship platform for both clubs. The latest (viral) video (below) with Barça’s Messi, Xavi, Villa and Alves, and Real’s Xabi Alonso, Di María, Arbeloa, Canales and Granero is another great example of how to communicate and join such a rivals.
Big sporting events are also an opportunity for ambush marketing. Betfair (below), FC Barcelona’s sponsor, also used the symbols of Real Madrid on their printed commercial; although they have no right to use it (Bwin is the “betting” partner and shirt sponsor of Real Madrid).
However, Real Madrid vs. Barcelona clash gave us – beside sporting excitement – new dimensions with Audi and Adidas. Maybe “El Clásico” could be renamed as “El Clásico United”!?