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Haider Saleem 31 May, 21 4 min read

Ronaldo Didn’t Wipe $4bn Off Coca Cola – That Was Just Market Fluctuations

Euro 2020 is having quite a few political moments.

We’ve seen England players and being booed by their own fans for taking a knee, Ukraine’s shirt controversy and Arnautovic bring up Albanian–Serbian tensions on the pitch.

In this article, we’re going to focus on the Ronaldo Coca-Cola incident. We’ll discuss:

  1. What happened
  2. News stories and what they said
  3. What happened to stock price and why
  4. Lessons for us

1. What happened

Before the beginning of a pre-match press conference for Portugal’s Euro 2020 opener, Cristiano Ronaldo put aside, out of shot, two Coca-Cola bottles placed in front of him and said: “agua” (water).

2. News stories and what they said

Many media outlets were quick to attribute this snub to Coca-Colas $4 billion loss in its market capitalisation. Social media further pushed this headline-grabbing narrative.

Headlines following Ronaldo’s snub


3. What happened to stock price and why

Coca Cola’s share did indeed drop. However, there is a difference between causation and correlation.

A closer look at the stock market data proves that Ronaldo did not cause the drop in the share price.

The press conference occurred on Monday 14th July at 15:45 CET. The shares are traded on the NYSE, so the press conference was at 09:45 in New York. This means shares had already been traded for 44 minutes before the Ronaldo snub.

Let’s see what happened during the 44 minutes before he moved the Coke bottles.

14/06/2021 -The Coca-Cola Company (KO). NYSE Source: Yahoo Finance

The price had already fallen to $54.25, a loss of $2.1 billion off its market cap. Much of the share drop – approximately 0.9% in morning trade – happened before Ronaldo touched a bottle. That drop accounted for most of that day’s losses.

During the same time, the whole US stock market was trading low.

This was also a day in which Coca-Cola became ex-dividend meaning the stock was trading without the value of the next dividend payment. Share prices adjust to a lower number on these days. This is because the company’s assets would have declined by the amount of dividend.

4. Lessons for us

Stock quotes have a delay to what is released on news sites. It would not be accurate to say that Ronaldo was the sole cause of the dip following his actions.

For any news, we should be using reliable media sources. We certainly shouldn’t be spreading fake news. For the markets, it’s better to look at outlets that specialise in this area – in particular, we should be excluding the tabloids and social media pages.

Correctly executed real-time marketing is key for business. Take a look at Ikea’s Ronaldo water bottle ad, clearly coming out the winner of this golden opportunity.

Brands should be aware of their product placements, especially with the power that athletes wield. Ronaldo has 550 million social media followers. Sure he may not have actually moved the stock price as we’ve outlined, but he still got a lot of people talking and the long term impact of that could be much greater for Coca Cola.

Brands do not want to get on the wrong side of athlete activism, giving someone an excuse to speak out against them. Let’s not forget, Paul Pogba removed a bottle of zero-alcohol Heineken beer before answering during his press conference following France’s 1-0 win over Germany.

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