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Cristiano Ronaldo’s simple move during a press conference hurts Coke’s bottom line

Cristiano Ronaldo moves Cokes during a press conference. The company’s market value plummets.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s simple move during a press conference hurts Coke’s bottom line
[Photo: Angel Martinez/UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images]
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On Tuesday, Portugal beat Hungary 3-0 in its opening game of the 2020 European Championships and Cristiano Ronaldo became the top scorer in Euros history, hitting a penalty shot in the 87th minute. But the global soccer superstar got almost as much attention for a move before the game even started.

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In his pre-match press conference, Ronaldo took two strategically-placed bottles of Coke from in front of his microphone, and moved them off to the side–and just off camera–before grabbing his unmarked bottle of water and said, “Agua.”

Coca-Cola‘s share price dropped almost immediately by 1.6%, or about $4 billion. The global corporation is an official sponsor of the tournament, widely considered the world’s third-most watched sporting event after the Olympics and the World Cup.

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The company offered a statement in response to the media coverage, saying “everyone is entitled to their drink preferences” with different “tastes and needs.”

Heineken experienced a similar snub after France beat Germany 1-0 and Paul Pogba moved a bottle of the brand’s zero-alcohol beer away from his mic.

For Coke, the answer here is pretty simple. Maybe give players a Dasani instead. Or an Aha. Or a Topo Chico. Or any of the other water-related brands the company has launched or acquired over the last decade.

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Meantime, as Ronaldo is being lauded for being so publicly health conscious, someone should probably tell him about KFC.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.

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