Cristiano Ronaldo’s credibility is being questioned after he openly refused to support Coca-Cola at Euro 2020, a brand he has previously sponsored.
Ronaldo was speaking to the media after Portugal’s 3-0 triumph over Hungary, in which he scored twice and set a few European records in the process. When he arrived at the press conference, Ronaldo placed two Coca-Cola bottles out of camera view before holding up a bottle of water and saying “Agua,” indicating that his beverage choice was in accordance with his well-documented health devotion.
Ronaldo’s actions triggered a chain of events at Euro 2020
The result was a magnificent chain reaction that shook the football world as well as the stock market. Coca-stock Cola’s dropped 1.6 percent almost immediately after the Portuguese’s rejection. As a result of Ronaldo’s actions, the club’s market value dropped from $242 billion to $238 billion, a $4 billion reduction. This became a trend, with additional players jumping on the bandwagon and following in Ronaldo’s footsteps.
#Hamas— Hassaan Fridi ☄️ (@callmefridu) June 16, 2021
Brutal 😳. Coca-Cola stock price lost up to $4 billion in just half an hour right after the press conference of Cristiano Ronaldo when he put the coke bottles aside.
The European Stock Exchange opened at 3 pm, when a share of Cole’s stock was worth $56.10. pic.twitter.com/zJ2OF5DsUv
At his own press appearance, Paul Pogba, a devout Muslim, removed bottles of Heineken mere hours after Ronaldo. Surprisingly, the beer is advertised as having a 0.0 percent alcohol content.
Meanwhile, Manuel Locatelli was observed changing his coke with water in a similar gesture to Ronaldo’s after Italy’s 3-0 win over Switzerland in their Euro 2020 group stage match.
These occurrences prompted the UEFA to remind the 24 teams competing in Euro 2020, as well as their players, of the various sponsors’ contributions to European soccer. If players continue to follow in Ronaldo’s footsteps, the governing body has threatened them with consequences.
Martin Kallen, the director of the Euro 2020 event, claimed the UEFA had “communicated with the teams on this matter.”
In a news conference, Kallen stated, “It is significant because the sponsors’ profits are important for the tournament and for European football.”
UEFA have asked players to stop removing sponsor drinks at Euro 2020 news conferences after Cristiano Ronaldo began the trend this week. Tournament director Martin Kallen said UEFA has “communicated with teams regarding this matter”.#EURO2020— Buzi Brown (@buzibrownie) June 17, 2021
However, the entire affair has reignited the debate about how much effect sports players have on their supporters' perceptions of specific businesses and products.
Continue reading to learn more about this commercial component of sports.
Influence of athletes in advertising
Sports celebrity endorsement has become a common method of advertising for things such as electronic gadgets, clothing, automobiles, and beverages in the previous decade.
Nike's multimillion-dollar collaboration with Michael Jordan, the apex of celebrity endorsement, has been replicated by a number of other corporations.
In today's world, social media has evolved into a one-stop shop for athletes to advertise a variety of products, large and small. It has provided them with a direct line of communication with a significant number of their supporters.
Take the case of Cristiano Ronaldo, for example. He recently surpassed 300 million Instagram followers, implying that he has the ability to influence about 4% of the global population.
And he's a speck on the horizon. Hundreds of athletes have devoted fan bases in the millions. The rise of social media only broadens their sphere of influence. And when they do well - whether it's by winning championships, breaking records, or whatever else - it only increases their fan base.
Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first person in the world to reach the 300 million follower mark on Instagram. 😱👏 pic.twitter.com/31nP7s7Sl7— EuroCup Stuff (@FootbalIStuff) June 18, 2021
Not only is there a lot of market impact, but it's also really effective. There is substantial evidence that commercials have a significant impact on people's purchasing and consumption decisions, particularly children who are very impressionable.
Athletes have always been successful in enticing consumers to items that would otherwise be uninteresting to them. Here are a few examples: Steph Curry with Under Armour, Roger Federer with Uniqlo, and Lionel Messi with Adidas.
There is, however, a flip side to this matter
With tremendous power comes great responsibility, and with that duty comes the issue of ethics in this situation. The ugly reality is that many of these celebrities do not truly believe in the items they promote.
Virat Kohli, the Indian cricket captain, promotes Too Yumm chips and his own energy drink, O'cean one8, which contains sugar levels comparable to soft drinks. It's not unreasonable to believe that he doesn't use these things personally. It's the same thing with Ronaldo and Coca-Cola as well, albeit in the past.
Another issue raised by the Ronaldo affair is that individual star power, boosted by large social media followings, can upend corporate ties with teams and events. Euro 2020 features over 12 high-end sponsors, each of whom pays around $36 million to be associated with the competition, including Coca-Cola. The irony is that, despite the fact that Coca-Cola has no direct ties to Ronaldo, his activities have had a direct detrimental impact on the brand as a whole.
It demonstrates the current power of athletes, which has caused businesses to reconsider their practices. Companies have shifted their focus away from teams and toward individuals in recent years.
👀 Messi gave a goal scoring debut to his new special signature edition adidas X Speedflow 'El Retorno' last night, scoring a peachy free kick in @Argentina's @CopaAmerica opener against Chile.— SoccerBible (@SoccerBible) June 15, 2021
Full story: https://t.co/81ggIxXjYH pic.twitter.com/ALm8EjNibi
Where firms haven't made this adjustment, such as Coca-Cola, it has backfired spectacularly.
One may argue, however, that Coca-Cola dispersed its risks by sponsoring a global tournament with various players spread among teams. But what Ronaldo, Pogba, and Locatelli have shown is that today's influencers have such clout that no firm can avoid the risks of sponsoring a full squad or tournament.
The heart of the situation is that this paradigm change occurred simply as a result of the enormous amount of power that has been given to athletes today. With just a single comment, post, or advertisement, they may literally turn public opinion around on any brand or product. And, whether this effect is favorable or negative, it is undeniably widespread, which is all that matters in today's climate.