Americans can Wayne Rooney Coke Zero blitz

Putting the ugly mug of England footballer Wayne Rooney on the side of millions of Coke Zero cans was always a high risk strategy and now executives at Coca-Cola in Atlanta have scrapped the promotion that was scheduled to run into 2011.

Following his less than dazzling exploits for England in the South Africa World Cup Rooney was pictured urinating against a wall and smoking cigarettes. He was then rumbled enjoying a threesome with two hookers in a Manchester hotel.

But Atlanta’s wishes to dump him entirely from Coke Zero, worth around £600,000 a year to Rooney, have been thwarted by the wishes of UK Coke executives who are contracted to use him in further instalments of Sky One show Coke Zero Street Striker which auditions amateur football hopefuls for places at a Brazilian soccer school.

For now there seems to be a stand-off between the Coke arms with the company saying officially that they’re still working on their marketing plans for 2011. Which means, in effect, that they’re up in the air until one side wins the argument.

Coke Zero is marketed as ‘bloke coke’ with no sugar and zero calories, which makes you wonder what is in it. Rooney remains a popular figure around the world despite his indiscretions although he hardly matches the family-friendly, ‘soccer moms’ image they no doubt thought they were buying in Atlanta. Some Coke Zero promotions include wife Coleen.

Rooney’s other big sponsor deals include Nike, Electronic Arts and publisher Harper Collins, for whom he is contracted to produce a number of books.

He shouldn’t be short of material for the latter anyway.

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