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Following today’s (16 June 2021) news that Ronaldo’s dismissal of Coca-Cola at a press conference temporarily cost the brand $4bn off its market value;

Khalid Peerbaccus, Senior Consumer Researcher at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“While the power of product placement cannot be denied, Ronaldo’s rejection of Coca-Cola in favour of a bottle of water – and the temporary impact this had on the market value of Coca-Cola – could also be due to the ambiguity that some consumers may have toward carbonated drinks.

“Ronaldo’s decision to shine the spotlight on water rather than Coca-Cola is one that may resonate with *57 % of consumers globally who say that, in the current situation, a product’s health and wellbeing claims has the greatest influence on their purchase choice – as well as a further **28 % who admit that this somewhat affects their decisions. That Ronaldo is a prominent sports figure further adds weight to his promotion of water over the soft drink, as many view and trust him as a symbol of health that is necessary for his athletic accomplishments.

“The temporary drop and subsequent recovery of Coca-Cola’s market value is an important reminder of the power of celebrity endorsement, or lack thereof: particularly when a product has, in recent years, received ‘bad press’ as with high-sugar fizzy drinks.

“The move has already spurred a similar instance where Paul Pogba removed a bottle of Heineken beer from display at a press conference. While these acts may temporarily impact the market value of brands due to impressionable fans of the players, the long-term impact on these well-established brands is yet to be seen. What it does highlight is that the placement of such products at sporting events is at odds with the perception of health that the athletes embody.”

*GlobalData survey asked how the product/service impacts my health and wellbeing. Combined responses: ‘Always’ or ‘Often’ in the current situation
**GlobalData’s 2021 Q1 Global Consumer Survey – Global