Recently, the famous football player Cristiano Ronaldo attended the Euro 2020 press meeting. As the sponsor of Euro 2020, Coca Cola placed its products on the meeting table right in front of the speakers. However, Ronaldo wasn’t that happy with this placement. He was seen removing the bottles in front of him, and showing the water bottle only. Some took this as his way of saying “stay healthy”. But the stock market took it a bit differently than others. After Ronaldo’s reaction to the bottles, Coca Cola lost $4 Billion in market value almost instantly.
It is crazy how one person’s simple act could cause a brand like Coca Cola that kind of a loss. But it is also showing the effect of celebrities on our lives. When a highly acclaimed and loved celebrity / sportsman like Ronaldo doesn’t want to promote a product, that brand is forced into some kind of a loss. The loss might not be big for Coca Cola, as it is a billion dollar company, but imagine what it would do to a smaller brand. Of course it is not on the celebrity or the person with influence to think about the consequences when they are not in any way affiliated with the brand.
And there is also one more factor playing here. Ronaldo has a great audience on social media, with 300M followers on Instagram only. So as much as he is a sportsman, he is also an influencer. What he does on TV, will simply appear on millions of accounts on social media instantly. And if something goes around on social media for some time, it will have consequences on the parties involved, in this case Coca Cola suffered the consequences.
Backlashes to Ronaldo’s Act
Ronaldo’s reaction was mostly due to him being a health advocate. However, he was accused of being a hypocrite as well, as he appeared in some Pepsi commercials before. Pepsi, being the number one rival of Coca Cola, probably benefited from this dive in the stock market. Ronaldo’s action could also be due to him not wanting to be seen with brands he is not affiliated with, which makes sense as he has a great influence. Any brand he is seen with will benefit from even only his appearance. This also shows us the power these people hold, and the funny thing about that power is we as the audience grant it. So if Ronaldo didn’t have such a big audience both online and offline, his action would probably be received as arrogant, considering his background with Pepsi as well, and he would receive a huge backlash.
Some people also found his snub disrespectful, as Coca Cola is the sponsor of the tournament he is playing in to earn money. People commented, saying even if he doesn’t want to drink or promote the product, he should have respected the brand as they are literally paying for the games.
But is there a benefit to Coca Cola here as well?
Obviously, yes. Even though the market value had a significant loss, the incident is also what everyone is talking about. It is no wonder that Coca Cola will come out of this pretty easily. And no, the brand won’t take it personally because according to Coca Cola spokesperson, “everyone is entitled to their drink preferences”.
Following the incident of Ronaldo, the French player Paul Pogba pulled a similar act. He removed a Heineken bottle from the shot at the press meeting. His reaction was due to him being a Muslim and not wanting to be seen with an alcoholic drink. While it makes sense for some people, it was again seen as a disrespectful act for the sponsor of the tournament. There were also debates as to the point of this gesture, as the Heineken was a non-alcoholic version.
First Ronaldo with the Coca-Cola…
Now Paul Pogba wasn't happy with the Heineken in front of him at his press conference 🍺❌ pic.twitter.com/SU1ifQPGOP
— Goal (@goal) June 16, 2021
What do you think of Ronaldo and Pogba’s actions? Do you think they have a right to remove the bottles? Or should they just respected the brands and leave them as they are? A little note from us to readers as well, be careful who you give your power to. Even if they are celebrities, they will have no effect without the support of their audience.