Press conferences have become an integral parts of sports, before or after any cricket or football match, a player along with a coach sits on a sponsored panel to answer the questions of the journalists. The primary motive of press conference in sports nowadays has become the advertisement of the sponsors of the event. In the UEFA Euro 2020, a football tournament where European national teams are competing a pre-match press conference was taking place before the Portugal versus Hungary’s game. Ronaldo came up with the Portuguese coach to address the press but just as he sat, he took the bottles of Coca Cola and put them aside and held up the bottle of water asserting the importance of water over coke.
This little stunt by Ronaldo cost the beverage giant Coca-Cola to lose 4 billion in the stock market the next day. The Portugal captain was visibly troubled when he saw two bottles of the carbonated soft drink in front of him as he sat down to speak to the media on Monday in Budapest ahead of his national team’s Group F opener against Hungary. Ronaldo, an advocate of a healthy diet, moved the glass bottles out of the camera frame and instead held up a bottle of water and said in Portuguese: “Water!” Or ‘Agua’ while referring the soft drink as gas.
Coca-Cola saw its share price drop by 1.6% to $55.22 soon after Ronaldo’s actions. The market value went from $242bn to $238bn — a $4bn drop.
Coca-Cola, an official sponsor of Euro 2020, responded in a statement that “everyone is entitled to their drink preferences” with different “tastes and needs.”
Coca-Cola Company has 200 brands worldwide, including different types of water. A Euro 2020 spokesperson said: “Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences.”
They added that without the support of brands like Coca-Cola, “we could not organise a tournament with such success for players and fans, nor invest in the future of football at all levels.”
Coca-Cola’s partnership with UEFA goes back to 1988 with the company having “a long tradition of supporting all sports at its various levels” and which has allowed “investment in football at all levels.”
This small stunt created an uproar not on the internet but on a global marketing level and this in many ways shows the influence these players have over the market and the internet. Many Indian brands such as Amul and Fevicol turned this snub into their own marketing moments, winning the internet by their advertisements.