Coca-Cola drops Wayne Rooney
Coca Cola has ended its sponsorship of controversial Manchester United star Wayne Rooney.
Speculation that the soft drink giant was to axe Rooney started in September following allegations that the striker had sex with a prostitute while his wife Coleen was pregnant.
It is thought that Coke bosses in the US put pressure on their UK counterparts to drop the striker over fears that lurid stories of infidelity would taint the company’s family-friendly image.
Coke admitted in October to pulling plans to feature Rooney on bottles and cans. Rooney reportedly earned £600,000 a year from his deal with Coca-Cola.
He fronted a Coke Zero sponsored television show “Street Striker” on Sky where he helped amateur footballers develop their football skills and has also appeared in Powerade ads.
The company says in a statement: “Our contract with Wayne Rooney came to an end last year and we mutually agreed that we would not renew our relationship.”
It adds that its marketing focus will now switch to its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Rooney is currently facing a two-match ban for swearing at a TV camera after completing his hat-trick in the 4-2 win against West Ham at the weekend.
His outburst has not deterred sponsor Nike, which is sticking by Rooney. A spokeswoman for the sportswear company says: “We have worked with Wayne for eight years and he continues to be a Nike athlete.”
· 68% of UK adults drink Coca-Cola (or variants like Diet Coke) while 42% drink Pepsi (or variants).
· Coca-Cola/Coke is easily the world’s biggest soft drinks brand, but the company behind it can now claim an astounding portfolio of 500 brands and ’3,300 beverages’.
· Coca-Cola’s maximum consumer penetration in the UK reaches over 80% among younger men and women and has a similar rate across the social grades.