Cristiano Ronaldo’s removal of two Coca-Cola bottles during a press conference at the European Championship has coincided with a $4bn fall in the share price of the drinks company, showing just how powerful sports stars are because of social media.
“Ronaldo is right at the top of social media earners,” says PR expert Mark Borkowski. He is the highest earner on Instagram, commanding $1m per paid post, and with more than $40m in income from the social media platform annually he makes more than his salary at Juventus. With over 550 million social media followers, doing even as small a gesture as moving a Coca Cola bottle, he is sending a message to his followers.
It truly is a form of activism, and is going to push sports organisers to look more closely at the fit of the sponsors they take on board. Consumers have become very conscious about the choices they make, the brands they support and influencers like Ronaldo, using social media are leading the way.
Other companies have taken advantage of this viral scandal, like Ikea. With a swift, simple marketing move, Ikea supported Ronaldo’s actions while promoting their glassware on Instagram with the message ‘Drink water, sustainably’.
And they have done it before. Following Joe Biden’s inauguration, Ikea reacted to the famous Bernie Sanders meme, and with the comical ‘Get the Look’ ad, promoted their Gunde folding chair.
Social media can be an amazing outlet for expressing opinions and beliefs. For some this brings risks, and sometimes great consequences. For others opportunities for profit and growth. Either way, with a huge following comes huge responsibility.