Rooney: the saga continues

The Rooney saga goes rumbling on. Just hours before he scores the winning goal against Chelsea in the Champions’ League quarter final he finds out he’s been axed by Coca-Cola. Coke simply said a contract with Rooney ended last year “and we mutually agreed we would not renew our relationship”.  So it seems that his F-word rant at the weekend put the icing on the cake of a year of grubby fling exposures with hookers, threatening to leave United, weeing in the street and general ugliness.

His Coke sponsorship was worth around £600,000 which at first sight doesn’t seem to be that much – especially when he’s earning about £100,000 a week. But it actually equates to a QUARTER of his sponsorship income.

Now I would have thought he’d be earning far more than that for his sponsorship deals. I work in PR with brand ambassadors and I know exactly how much these people are getting, that are nowhere near as famous as Rooney – yet the difference in fee is not relative. I don’t know why he’s not getting more, but it is surprising. He also isn’t affiliated to many brands at all – not like Becks who has put his name to anything from pants and fragrance to pens and sportswear. So this makes me wonder whether his ability to get more sponsors is finite as it is, and whether he’ll be able to find another sponsor to plug that gap for him. It’s not necessarily about the cash, we all know the boy and his missus are minted, but it’s about saving face and not giving his other sponsors the willies. Nike and EA Sports are standing by him, but how long will it be before they start getting jittery and pulling out a la Tiger Woods?

So is Coke right to not renew his contract? Or is it massively overreacting and people will buy Coke no matter what he did? Put in the simplest of terms Rooney was hired by Coke to improve sales and get kids to start wanting Coke, and its lifestyle, at an early age. They want to drink what their heroes drink, and Coke wants them to love the taste of Coke from an early stage. Once these taste buds develop, Pepsi and own brand colas won’t taste as good and therefore they’ve hooked a whole new generation of Coke drinkers for life. So Rooney being Coke’s face makes no difference to the vast percentage of Coke drinkers. They’ll drink it because they like the taste, and won’t avoid it because Rooney is involved.

So why have they dropped him then? It’s all about the parents. Coke wants to be seen as a family brand – that can be integral to family life and occasions – just think of that Christmas advert. If parents don’t want to buy Coke for their kids because of Rooney’s involvement, Coke won’t be able to get these kids hooked on the Coke taste at a young age – and they lose out on a whole generation of would-be Coke drinkers – which results in a loss of millions of pounds.

My view? Good on them. It’s about time Rooney realised that the world doesn’t revolve around him and Coke needs to protect its brand, values and profit margins.

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  1. Claus says:

    Maybe turning in a couple of performances will get him another brand. Problem is with brand image so important, no many brands out there for him

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