Cristiano Ronaldo launches his own social network – Viva Ronaldo

Sweden’s world class football striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic changed his relationship with media when he launched his own app, “Zlatan Unplugged“. Instead of just talking directly to journalists, a lot of quotes in articles today are from statements in his app. And now another football icon, Cristiano Ronaldo, ups the ante by launching his own social network Viva Ronaldo (Where my true fans belong…), complete with an app for iPhone and Android devices.

vivaronaldo social network

The community site features a stream of tweets from the official Viva Ronaldo Twitter account alongside tweets from fans who tag their tweets #vivaronaldo. I think it’s a nice feature to include fan tweets live on the site.

viva ronaldo twitter

In the app, you are able to interact with other fans, play games and win prizes and of course read updates and watch images and videos from CR7. And if you’re lucky, Ronaldo may even like your pictures.

Viva Ronaldo app

Ronaldo recently opened up his own museum on Madeira, he is also the most popular athlete on Facebook, Twitter and has more than 11 million followers on Chinese Sina Weibo. So it’s not surprising that he launches his own social network. Or as Yahoo Sports declares:

“This is all a precursor to the inevitable Church of Ronaldo, which will make Scientology look like a flexible neighborhood bookclub.”

Pepsi’s Cristiano Ronaldo stunt on Facebook backfires miserably

Pepsi Sweden put up three images on its Facebook page before the last night’s World Cup qualifying game between Sweden and Portugal. The three images portrayed Portuguese icon Cristiano Ronaldo as a voodoo doll full of needles, a doll being crushed by a Pepsi can and lying tied on a rail track.

Pepsi is a sponsor to FC Barcelona’s Leo Messi, one of Ronaldo’s main contenders for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, and apparently someone at Pepsi found it to be a brilliant idea to mock Ronaldo on Facebook. It was not.

Pepsi Facebook Cristiano Ronaldo

Pepsi Facebook Cristiano Ronaldo

Pepsi Facebook Cristiano Ronaldo disaster

The stunt has caused outrage among Portuguese football fans who have flooded Pepsi’s Swedish Facebook page with angry comments and images of their own, mocking Pepsi. Here are a few examples:

“Shame on you! Shame on you! You’re a disrespectful and unprofessional brand and you did not manage to achieve anything positive at all with that ridiculous, non-humorous and offensive campaign. It serves you right that 10.6M people shutted you up tonight, and will stop drinking Pepsi.” Link.

Pepsi Facebook

Pepsi Ronaldo

Pepsi Ronaldo Facebook

There are also many angry comments on both the Portuguese Pepsi page as well as the global page on Facebook. And that’s the trouble with a local crisis, it often spreads to a global scale. A Portuguese anti Pepsi page has also been created and it has currently attracted more than 40,000 followers. The story has already been covered in both Swedish and Portuguese media.

Pepsi has now been forced to delete the images from Facebook and to apologize:

“We would never want to put the sport or the spirit of competition in a negative light. We regret if people were offended by the posts; they were immediately taken down. We would like to extend our apologies to all concerned.”

Mocking someone else’s idol can never be a clever way to promote your brand. Pepsi has learned that the hard way.

Cristiano Ronaldo reaches 50 million fans on Facebook

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has quite a fan base. On Twitter, he has close to 14 million followers and on the Chinese equivalent Sina Weibo, he has 9 million followers. But it is on Facebook that the largest number of fans are connected to Real Madrid’s forward. He has now reached 50 million fans on Facebook, beating rival Leo Messi of FC Barcelona with more than 11 million.


Impressive as that is, it still doesn’t put Ronaldo in the top ten of most liked Facebook pages. The top ten according to are:

  1. Facebook – 79 million
  2. Texas Holdem Poker – 66 million
  3. YouTube – 64 million
  4. Rihanna – 62 million
  5. Eminem – 62 million
  6. The Simpsons – 55 million
  7. Shakira – 55 million
  8. Lady Gaga – 53 million
  9. Coca-Cola – 53 million
  10. Michael Jackson – 52 million

The problem with Twitter handles of sports stars

I just read an article (in Swedish) today about the top EURO 2012 football players in social media. It reveals that Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is the footballer with most followers on Twitter and Facebook, in total 56 million followers (10.3 on Twitter and 45.9 on Facebook). Add to that the he also has 6.6 million followers on the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, Tencent Weibo.

The article doesn’t link to the official accounts of the sports stars, which is why I decided to write this blog post. You see, the correct accounts are sometimes very hard to find, especially on Twitter and certainly when media like Dagens Media misspell their names.

cristiano ronaldo

I see three main reasons for this.

The first is that many celebrities have had their real names “brandjacked” by people pretending to be them, forcing them to make up Twitter handles that are, well, “creative”. For example, Manchester United defender (not in the EURO 2012 for controversial reasons) Rio Ferdinand’s Twitter handle is @rioferdy5 instead of the anticipated @rioferdinand (which is not active). Ferdinand would have no trouble taking over the handle with his real name if he wanted to. I have done that myself for several well known brands.

The second reason it is hard to find the official accounts is that neither Twitter nor Facebook have especially good search engines of their own. Sometimes you may get the best result, but not always. A third reason is that Twitter is not doing much to remove fake accounts that pose as official. A search on Twitter for “Rio Ferdinand” displays a number of fake “official” accounts. The one with the handle “RIOFERDY5” is actually not the same as “rioferdy5” since the “I” is in fact the letter “L”.

rio ferdinand twitter

The inability to be sure that an account is an official account causes a lot of unnecessary confusion, especially for the celebrities when media sometimes quote fake tweets. Italian Serie A club AC Milan tweeted that a fake account was in fact the official one by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of its star players. There is still a lot of confusion around if he even has an account, a PR agency once confirmed that they run one account on behalf of him or his team, but Ibrahimovic himself seems oblivious to the fact that he is on Twitter.

Ferdinand’s team mate Wayne Rooney used to be know as @Wazzaroon08 on Twitter, but is now @WayneRooney.

Another uncertain account is that of Leo Messi, the world’s top footballer. Certainly a player like him, who has 36 million Facebook fans, would have more than some 90,000 followers on Twitter? But his own club, FC Barcelona, is following one account (@messi_barcelona) that should be the official one, one would assume. It has only 93,000 followers and if you click on the link in the bio, you get a warning message from, saying this link is potentially not safe to click (I haven’t clicked, so I don’t know if it is safe). The account has only tweets automatically published via Twitterfeed, so by the looks of it, this is not the real deal.

bitly warning

Then again, is the @FCB account really an official account for the club? Seems so, because @andresiniesta8 is following it.

This confusion is not good for anyone, so Twitter should take more responsibility for removing fake accounts and maybe we as users can be more active in reporting them. Then again, the option we have is to report accounts for spamming, and that’s not really what this is about, so they label on that button may deter many from reporting these accounts. Celebrities and brands on the other hand, should be more active in trying to get their accounts labelled “verified”, which I still see as the best proof that an account belongs to an official source.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not on Facebook, but his fans are

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo uses both Facebook and Twitter to connect with fans. His official fan page on Facebook just reached 20 million “likes”, which is an amazing number. His Twitter account has close to 1.8 million followers.

The Swedish footballer who is closest to Ronaldo’s star status is AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but as I have blogged before, he is not active on Twitter. Apparently he and/or his agent don’t bother too much about protecting the “Ibra” brand online. By the looks of it, he is not in control of the domain name and he has left Twitter open to a range of imposters. So what about Facebook? Well, for starters, he has not grabbed the vanity URL It belongs to one Aymen Ak. An official page is nowhere to be found.

As is often the case, fans take matters into their own hands and create “fan” pages. The largest one currently has 725,000 fans and a community page has more than 100,000.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic facebook fan page

I don’t know if Ibrahimovic is just not interested in talking to his fans, is satisfied with his current “level of stardom” or if he has the wrong advisors. Either way, I am convinced that he could strengthen his brand even further if he would start to engage just a little with his millions of fans through social media. Better to start now, than after the career has ended.