Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Sad Day for Atletico Madrid

It's not often I lament any ill on crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid. Their spectacular fall from grace has weakened the league and reduced the Madrid derbi to a one-sided affair (OK, that part's not so bad). But today, Atletico Madrid announced that there would be no yearly ad placed due to the economic climate.

A bit of context. The year Atletico dropped to second division, knowing the difficulties of climbing back up, Atletico devised a plan to increase the number of season ticketholders by running an original and creative ad. The first ad was Kiko emerging from the flames and the now legendary slogan, "A tiny year in hell."

Beyond that, the result was a wonderful tradition where Atletico's heartwarming and unique ads were an anticipated part of the summer. Their marketing always seemed to capture not just the tortured and faithful soul of Atletico fans, but also the special bond between football and being human. What Atletico hasn't won on the field recently, it has won in the marketing campaigns. It is a sad day for a fanbase that in recent years has suffered as much from their team's poor management as their player's debility on the field.

Some of my favorites:

No need to know English for this one, just have faith.

The often announced, not often seen return of Atletico.

A spectacular ad using the Spanish Civil War as a launching pad for two Atletico fans to remember what football can mean to someone.

A beautiful ad where Atletico poignantly reflects on the ability of football to connect cultures through the story of a Latin American immigrant in Spain.

A son tries to renounce his fandom to his deceased father - but even in death Atletico lives on.

The classic. A young boy asks, "Dad why are we Atletico fans?"

While not an official team ad, this one was disseminated by the team's fans after the management decided to sell their stadium to fund the construction of a new one. A blow to their already reduced confidence, it takes off the "Why are we Atletico fans" ad and passes through the years as the news, hilariously, only gets worse for Atletico. From the Double to the Sale. The final closing is: "Little by little they take what we are. Until when? Resist!"

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