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One word, that’s all it took to bring Coca-Cola’s market value down $4 billion. “Água,” Cristiano Ronaldo said, raising a bottle of water after he had moved two bottles of Coke aside. The Portuguese soccer star was speaking to reporters Monday ahead of his team’s 3-0 defeat of Hungary in the opening game of its European Championship title defense.
The captain’s promotion of healthy hydration sent Coca-Cola stock down 1.6% to $55.22 a share, taking the company market value from $242 billion to $238 billion. Ronaldo, playing in his fifth European Championship, went out the next day and scored twice, making him the tournament’s all-time leading scorer.
The move sent tournament officials scrambling to make a key sponsor happy. “We could not organize a tournament with such success for players and fans, nor invest in the future of football at all levels” without Coca-Cola, a UEFA spokesperson said.
UEFA’s headache got worse Tuesday when French star Paul Pogba, a practicing Muslim who avers alcohol, removed a bottle of Heineken from the table in front of him while addressing reporters after a 1-0 defeat of Germany. Heineken’s stock has actually gone up since then (perhaps because Pogba didn’t say anything when he moved the bottle and thus didn’t go viral?).
Brands love star power when it convinces people to buy their products, but the Ronaldo incident shows the dangers of involving stars in product placement without their consent.
“Drinking water is so important,” Ronaldo told goal.com last year, saying he avoids alcohol and carbonated drinks.
Meanwhile, UEFA has a problem on its hands. It needs stars to bring fans in, but it makes a ton of money on sponsorship deals because of all those eyeballs.
“Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences,” the spokesperson said. Everyone “is entitled to their drink preferences.”
Originally Appeared Here