On August 3, I wrote an article about football players being brands. They have values, vehiculate an image that brands and companies associate themselves with. Today, Wayne Rooney was dropped by Coca-Cola. He will no longer be the Coke Zero icon following allegations about his private life.
Manchester United stricker Wayne Rooney is dealing with the consequences of his extra marital affairs. Stories about him sleeping with prostitutes while his wife was pregnant, and him urinating against a wall the past summer displeased the Atlanta firm.
A US source has told the Daily Mail newspaper: “The executives at head office in Atlanta wanted to drop him straight away. They were bewildered by the stories and found reports of his conduct disgusting. This is not something the American executives in Atlanta found acceptable at all. Coca-Cola is a family-friendly company and Wayne Rooney was brought on board to appeal to young people, specifically young men and teenage boys.”
Coca-Cola released a statement saying: “Last month we amended our marketing plans on Coke Zero. Given the situation at that time we did not feel it was appropriate to run an on-pack promotion featuring Wayne Rooney.”
Another episode which illustrates how player’s off the pitch conduct can lead to companies advertising turmoil. This said, the dropping or not strategy remains the companies choice. EA and Nike stood by the Manchester’s striker side. Rooney was supposed to get circa £ 600.000 from his Coca-Cola endorsement.
Will this have a knock on effect on having players being more careful in their private lives? Will players be more cautious to sign deals with brands “limiting” their freedom off the pitch? All those questions shall find answers in the near future. In the meantime, stay tuned!