SBD/August 20, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sugar Mama: Sharapova Expands Brand With Luxury Candy Line Launch

Part of the proceeds from Sugarpova will go to Sharapova's philanthropic foundation
Tennis player Maria Sharapova's new line of “luxe candy -- dubbed Sugarpova -- launches today” in N.Y., with a collection that "features gummies to gumballs (in the shape of tennis balls)," according to Douglas Robson in a special for USA TODAY. The candy line “comes in a dozen packages with names such as ‘quirky,’ ‘sassy’ and ‘spooky,’ each represented by a bold pair of lips, which Sharapova calls ‘iconic.’” While the move “represents the latest iteration of Sharapova Inc., the lucrative off-court empire the Russian has built since storming Madison Avenue following her 2004 Wimbledon win at age 17, this is different.” What Sharapova wanted with Sugarpova “was to venture out on her own after being part of numerous successful marketing and ad campaigns from Nike to Canon to Tag Heuer.” Sharapova said, "I wanted to own something -- something 100% me. Where I make all the final decisions.” Jeff Rubin, founder of int'l retailer It'sugar and creator of FAO Schweetz candy departments inside FAO Schwarz toy stores, “came up with the Sugarpova name.” He was “brought in to work as a consultant throughout the project, helping Sharapova and company navigate the industry and source the candy from a factory in Spain.” Sharapova also “enlisted Dentsu, the ad agency behind her memorable Canon ads, to help design the packaging and conceive the marketing plan.” A portion of the proceeds from Sugarpova “will go to her philanthropic foundation” (USA TODAY, 8/20).

I WANT CANDY: Sharapova appeared on "CBS This Morning" today to promote the brand's launch, and CBS' Jeff Glor said, “A lot of people might ask why is an athlete promoting sugar.” Sharapova said, “I feel like everyone needs a treat and everyone loves candy around the world.” Sharapova said she has been part of "so many great partnerships" throughout her career, but she "wanted to start something that was my own." She said, "I love candy, I love gummies and when the name Sugarpova came about, I thought this was something I really wanted to own.” Meanwhile, CBS’ Gayle King noted Sharapova has ranked No. 1 on Forbes' list of highest-paid female athletes eight years in a row and asked, “When you hear the numbers about your career, what do you think?” Sharapova: “It’s funny when people mention the money because I always ask, ‘How does anyone have access to your bank account? Who knows and who actually believes all this stuff?’” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 8/20).
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