I was shocked to learn tennis ace, Maria Sharapova, will change her name to Sugarpova to promote her own candy brand – what is she thinking?
It’s not as if the former world No. 1 champion needs the money as she is one of the richest female athletes in the world.
Her brand, produced by Spanish-based candy maker Sanchez Cano, which owns Fini confectionary, has a dozen different varieties of sweets including the flavours; Smitten Sour, Quirky and Sporty and the logo of her company is a pair of red lips.
The 26-year-old spent more than $470,000 setting up Sugarpova . It is estimated almost 2 million bags of the sweets were sold last year, topping up her annual earnings to $23million.
Personally, I find it disgusting that someone I looked up to as a true sporting hero has decided to go down the tacky route of cashing in on teeth-rotting sweets.
I wonder if she actually eats the sugary treats herself. Surely, it would have made more sense to promote a healthy snack as an example to others and to make a stand against the rising obesity epidemic in the US.
Admittedly, Sharapova is not the first sports star or celebrity to promote a food product. You can see our Top 10 Photogallery on most interesting star-backed food items to hit the shelves in recent years here .
But, the burning question is, if the tennis ace enlisted the help of New York ad agency Dentsu, which engaged branding firm Red Antler to create the packaging for her label, why does she need to succumb to the depths of changing her name to promote it further?
Surely, the packaging and design should speak for itself and there is no need to resort to such desperate measures?
I hear Sharapova has allegedly asked Florida's Supreme Court to change her name to Sugarpova from August 26 to September 9, this year, to coincide with the final grand slam of the year, the US Open and it will revert back to her original name after the event.
Her outfit for the tournament will reportedly carry the logo of her company, a pair of red lips and, if she is granted permission from the grand slam committee, she could be introduced and addressed as Miss Sugarpova. Scores would also be read out in favour of her new moniker. How embarrassing for Russia if she wins.
It sounds like a massive wind-up and for her sake, I hope it is. I would rather believe that the star is playing a joke on her fans and it is not true, otherwise she will lose all respect from me.
As FoodProductionDaily.com went to press, Sharapova’s agent, Max Eisenbud, said the publicity stunt was not going to go ahead and the star has decided to fill a glass truck full of her candy and drive it around Miami instead.
“To change her name, Sharapova, who is a Russian citizen but has a green card and resides in Florida, would have had to file a name change petition in the state, submit fingerprints, have a background check and have a hearing before a judge. If the judge signed an order, the name change would be official,” he said.