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

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.

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.

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.

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

Fast Company