Ronaldo’s 'Cola Snub' and Oral Health

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Carbonated drinks cause dental decay. Will Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘cola snub’ help lead to improved dental health?

Football star Cristiano Ronaldo has taken social media by storm after he pointedly removed two bottles of Coca-Cola from the table at a press conference during Euro 2020. His gesture has led to the global beverage giant losing US $4 billion market value.

The Portugal captain, a renowned health fanatic who eschews carbonated drinks and alcohol, underlined his point by holding up a bottle of water while saying “agua” the Portuguese and Spanish term for water. The water brand in question happens to be owned by Coca-Cola, but his point was made. Ronaldo has no time for the brand, but will this take the fizz out of cola's global grip?

The 36-year-old is recognised as the world’s most famous footballer, who once endorsed Coca-Cola and KFC, but since he has built an empire that makes more than $1bn (£720m) in football salaries, bonuses and commercial sponsorships, with over half a billion followers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, he is free to pursue such statements, making him a very powerful influencer.

Ronaldo is also the highest earner on Instagram, commanding US $1m per paid post, and with more than US $40m in annual income from the social media platform he earns more from social media than his salary at Juventus.

How will his action affect fizzy drinks in the future? In the UK, oral health opinion leaders including the Oral Health Foundation and the British Dental Association have warned about the dental dangers of acidic carbonated drinks, which have a detrimental effect on healthy enamel. Will Ronaldo’s action inspire people to turn away from ‘The real thing’ to dentally healthier water?

Will Ronaldo’s action have an impact on everyone or just his fans, and will it put other popular cola endorsers, especially sportspeople, in a spot? Global researchers Pipslay polled 7,000 Britons to get some insights into people’s feelings about Cristiano’s cola snub. This is what they found:

  • 58% think Ronaldo's Coca-Cola snub was justified despite its negative market impact
  • 61% believe his action will have a positive impact on people's attitudes towards cola drinks. 33% said a clear yes, while 28% believe it will only effect his fans
  • 37% believe Ronaldo's cola snub will put other celebrity endorsers of cola drinks in a spot
  • 67% believe celebrities should act responsibly when endorsing a product

This Piplsay survey was conducted nationwide in the US and the UK from 19-22 June, 2021. It received 31,272 responses in the US and 7,000 online responses from the UK, all from individuals aged 18 years and older.

Coca-Cola is one of the top sponsors of the Euro tournament, which has made the incident even more of a media event.

A spokesperson from Pipslay added: “While Ronaldo is not the first celebrity to denounce a branded product, the incident has drawn sharp responses from people across the world, especially as it arrives amid the ongoing health crisis and heightened discussions around healthier lifestyles.”

To see the Pipslay survey in more detail, click HERE.