How Soccer Star Cristiano Ronaldo May Have Caused Coca-Cola's Stock To Drop

As one of the sponsors of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, the international men's football championship that suffered a year's postponement due to the pandemic, Coca-Cola is allowed to insert product placements into interviews. So, when Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese soccer star, sat before the press, they ensured two bottles of Coke featured prominently before the star player.

However, as The Guardian reports, the company did not consider that Ronaldo, the world famous sportsman, is a health nut. Upon seeing the bottles of soda, he took them off the table before declaring "Agua!" Upon Ronaldo's exhortation for the public to consume more water, Coca-Cola's share price dropped from $56.10 to $55.22 and its market value similarly fell from $242 billion to $238 billion.

Perhaps in an attempt to soothe their sponsor, a spokesperson for Euro 2020 insisted that all players were allowed "their drink preferences" and that "players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences." The Guardian corrected its piece to attribute both statements to the competition lest more people, like ESPN, believe that either came from Coca-Cola. As of this writing, the company seems not to have responded. 

Another day, another incident

The next day, it appeared to the Internet that Cristiano Ronoaldo had initiated a slight trend, as Paul Pogba, who is competing for France, made his own product statement at an interview. When sat next to a bottle of non-alcoholic Heineken, Pogba moved it under the table. 

Unlike Coca-Cola, Heineken suffered no damage to their stocks, probably because Pogba made no spoken comment. However, they did suffer from cosmic irony for, as MSN reports, only the day before they sent "cheers" to Ronaldo despite his outspoken preference for "agua." 

In another dissimilarity, the BBC notes that Pogba, who as a practicing Muslim abstains from alcohol, made no comment on the matter, acting discreetly. The broader difference in their actions was that Ronaldo was making a public health announcement, while the latter — wanting to distance himself from something that could contain alcohol — kept the issue to himself. Still, it did not stop the move from achieving viral status or from connecting the two incidents.