Maria Sharapova is attempting to take marketing to a new level.
The Russian tennis star has plans to temporarily change her last name to “Sugarpova” to promote her new candy line of the same name, The Sunday Times reports. Sharapova’s move would only be for the duration of the US Open, which begins next week.
According to The Times, Sharapova is attempting to do the temporary name change through the Supreme Court of Florida. Sharapova is based out of Bradenton, Fla., and began training and living in the state at a young age.
In addition to changing her name, Sharapova wants to place the Sugarpova lips logo on her clothing during the tournament.
Would a court really allow such a move? It was one thing for a guy like Chad Johnson to change his name to Ochocinco, which is weird enough, but it’s completely different to change a name for marketing purposes.
If this gets cleared, then that would open the gates for a whole new avenue of sports marketing. You thought stadium sponsorship deals were bad? Just wait until Novak Uniqlo starts taking the tennis courts.
Sharapova first marketed her candy line in the US last August. She invested $500,000 in the project and has already seen big returns, according to Bloomberg. She entered the gummy candy market, which is estimated at $28 billion, and often sells bags for $5.99 apiece. Very little money has been spent on marketing and advertising; most of the product awareness has come through fan and media interest in all things Sharapova.
Even if this move doesn’t go through, Sharapova just got all the publicity for her brand that she could have wanted.