Udayavni Special

Will celebrities denouncing aerated drinks make any difference?


Shivani Kava, Jun 22, 2021, 11:24 AM IST

It is not the first time a celebrity has denounced a branded product and sent its shares tumbling down the charts. But Ronaldo’s snub at Cocacola went on to create a huge buzz online as he shoved two bottles of Coca-Cola out of the camera at a European Championship press conference making it a historic, meme-worthy moment.

Cristiano Ronaldo, a 38-year-old star footballer is one of the fittest athletes on the planet across all sports. He has a personal dietician who plans his meals every day and the footballer’s dislike for colas is genuine as sugary drinks and food are off the table.

Despite the star footballer getting all the attention, he isn’t the first celebrity to remind the world how bad Coca-cola or any other carbonated soft drink is for the health. The amount of sugar and caffeine in carbonated drinks is extremely water-intensive and also one of the easiest ways to put on weight.

In an interview with CNN-IBN in 2017, Virat Kohli confessed, “Things that I’ve endorsed in the past, I won’t take names, but something that I feel that I don’t connect to anymore… I won’t urge others to consume it just because I’m getting money out of it.”

He even said that he decided not to sign Pepsi and that he had undergone a lifestyle change. The Indian cricket team skipper said that he doesn’t use that product anymore.

Current Indian badminton national coach and former All England champion Pullela Gopichand rejected an advertisement offer from Coca-cola in 2002 as he believed that these products were harmful to health. He called it a personal decision and said, “Since 1997, I have stopped drinking these soft drinks. After seeing the reports, as well as studies on the health hazards of these products, I stopped their consumption. Only my family members and friends were aware of the offer and my decision. I did not want to discuss it further as it was purely a personal decision.”

Amitabh Bachchan in an event in 2014 confessed that a little girl made him give up endorsing Pepsi and that he has become conscious about promoting such products. Apart from sportspersons and Bollywood veteran, Baba Ramdev ran a campaign calling the drinks as toilet cleaners.

The Cocacola-Ronaldo incident could be seen as a beginning of an era where people start to denounce soft drinks as they did once with tobacco. The incident quickly sparked conversations online and within a day, Paul Pogba, France midfielder removed a beer bottle of Heineken placed in front of him and Manuel Locatelli Italy midfielder put aside Coca-Cola bottles at a press conference.

All these celebrities who denounced the carbonated beverages and brands were once seen endorsing them. These ads subconsciously associate the drinks to the sportsperson or the celebrity-“If Virat Kohli drinks Pepsi and plays well then why can’t we drink?”

So when celebrities like Ronaldo who is considered God by many make a gesture like that, it goes on to make a change among the kids as their hero doesn’t drink sugary drinks, and why should they.

Although it’s a long way to go as the effects of the Cocacola-Ronaldo incident is short term and short-lived as the beverage giant sponsor leagues and major tournaments like World Cups to associate their products with an active lifestyle. And the irony is that Coca-Cola will remain the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s main beverage partner until 2023.

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