EDITOR’S NOTE (June 16, 2021, 6:10 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Ronaldo’s move eliminated $ 4 billion from the valuation of Coca-Cola shares. The company’s share price, however, had started to decline even before the gesture, and there is no evidence of a causal relationship between the gesture and the share price.
Coca-Cola and Heineken are under attack on social media after two soccer stars visibly snubbed them during a tournament sponsored by the two beverage makers.
Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo and French midfielder Paul Pogba have slipped sponsor bottles away from them in separate press conferences.
On Monday, ahead of Portugal’s opening game in the Euro 2020 tournament against Hungary in Budapest, health-conscious Ronaldo was filmed as he kept soft drinks away from him. He then held up a bottle of water and said, “Agua. “
Pogba, a Muslim, later took a bottle of Heineken beer from him at a press conference.
Headlines and social media conversations noted that Coca-Cola’s stock price fell on Monday and attributed it to the shares of the world football star. But in fact, there was no real indication that the shares had affected the share price.
The Coca-Cola stock price immediately fell when the stock market opened at 9:30 a.m. ET, from $ 56.08 to $ 55.25 even before Ronaldo’s press conference started at 9:45 a.m. 4 cents above today’s low.
The stock edged up during the conference after the gesture, rising to $ 55.30.
Clips of the two incidents shot on social media, praising the gestures of the football stars.
Ronaldo “was setting a positive example for young fans and showing his contempt for a cynical marketing attempt to tie him to a sugary drink,” the UK Obesity Health Alliance tweeted.
Coca-Cola responded to a request for comment, pointing NBC News to a statement from European football’s governing body, UEFA, which said the company offers “a range of drinks to meet different tastes and needs, which are available to players throughout the tournament. “
He added that players “can choose their favorite drink” at press conferences.
A spokesperson for Heineken, an official sponsor of the tournament, said in an email: “We fully respect everyone’s decision as to which drink they choose.”
One of the richest athletes on the planet, Ronaldo has a lucrative brand off the pitch, commanding huge sponsorship deals, and with 299 million followers he is the most followed athlete on Instagram – surpassing even reality TV star Kim Kardashian West and singers Ariana Grande and Beyoncé.
Earlier this month, Ronaldo tweeted: “My body is my weapon. This is the most important thing for me. In football we are always told to eat well and train well to have a longer professional career.
In 2006, Ronaldo appeared in an advertisement for Coca-Cola and was featured in an advertisement for fast food giant KFC.
Coca-Cola has more than 500 beverage brands around the world, including soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, and bottled water.
Ronaldo’s action has been praised by sports commentators on social media, as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom brady.