Cocal-Cola recently terminated its deal with Ronaldinho. The Brazilian crossed the line by showing up at a press conference with Pepsi cans in front of him. For the Atlanta firm, there are things you do not play with.
According to a Coca-Cola statement: “The fact that the player has appeared with a can of Pepsi was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Coca-Cola marketing chief Marcelo Pontes told the newspaper.
Coke had been dismayed that Ronaldinho’s name has recently generated more negative news than positive.
He left his Brazilian club, Flamengo, after suing the club for unpaid wages. Flamengo launched a counter-suit, which will be settled in a Brazilian court.
This said, Coca-Cola outlines that there are corporate elements a sponsored athlete should/must not play with. His behavior on and off the pitch must not be stained with debaucheries or unacceptable public appearances.
Coke cancelled the $750,000 a year partnership with Ronaldinho that was supposed to run until 2014. Some sponsors should get some inspiration from this. Too many athletes cause heavy image damage to the brand they represent, and will (could) think twice before endorsing the unprofessional costume.