Five-time Ballon d'Or winning footballer Cristiano Ronaldo prioritises health over junk food — that much is clear. He also advocated the same for others — also understandable. That his sliding your product away in front of cameras can lead to a $4 billion devaluation of your company, however, was something we all learned recently.
Ronaldo noticed two bottles of Coca-Cola set before him on a table during a press conference before Portugal's game against Hungary in the ongoing UEFA European Football Championship. Coca-Cola is a sponsor of the competition and the bottles were placed for advertisement but Ronaldo wasn't having it. He moved the bottles aside and waved his water bottle at the camera, saying, "Agua!" — Portuguese for water — urging fans to choose water over soda. "Coca-Cola," he said while rolling his eyes.
Video clips of the incident have gone viral on social media.
His snub had a massive impact on the brand.
Coca-Cola's share price took a hike, falling from $56.1 to $55.22 almost immediately after Ronaldo's gesture, translating to a 1.6 per cent drop. The market valuation of the brand dropped from $242 billion to $238 billion — a $4 billion loss.
The fall was so sharp and so immediate that people likened it to the ups and downs of the Bitcoin market. Formal finance buffs have slammed the cryptocurrency for being volatile and facing drastic changes based on tweets. A tweet from Tesla founder Elon Musk led to a recent Bitcoin crash and has become a punchline on the internet.
Or perhaps Ronaldo is the one who got the last laugh.
Whether he's laughing or not, there are people who are ready to laugh with him.
They called him, the most followed person on Instagram with 299 million followers, a real influencer.
How did Coca-Cola take it? Well, this user seems to have an idea.
Or we could learn directly from Coca-Cola, who released a statement on Tuesday following the drop. The brand's communiqué said “everyone is entitled to their drink preferences” with different “tastes and needs”. A spokesperson for the championship said, "Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences."
Ronaldo went on to score two goals in the game, as his team won 3-0 at the end of the 90 minutes. The Juventus striker, regarded as one of the greatest ever, set yet another record with those goals. He's now the all-time leading goal scorer in the competition with 11 goals, appearing in his record-setting fifth European Championship and surpassing Frenchman Michel Platini's record of nine goals.
Following the Ronaldo situation, Manchester United and France footballer Paul Pogba also repeated the gesture. As a practicing Muslim, he refrains from endorsing alcoholic beverages, and in line with that value, he removed a Heineken bottle placed in front of him at a press conference.
We all already know other brands are shaking wondering if they're next.