The mermaid has left a memorable mark on pantry shelves and lunch and dinner tables for six decades, but she somehow remained anonymous since her debut on Chicken of the Sea labels in 1952.
After seafood fans submitted more than 49,000 entries in a nationwide contest to name the brand’s beloved icon — and earn a chance to win a $10,000 grand prize — one perfect name floated to the top: Catalina.
Chicken of the Sea, which turned 100 years old in 2014, challenged seafood (and mermaid) fans to name its blonde icon as part of its year-long Centennial celebration. The contest ran through Feb. 14 with the winning entry submitted by a contestant in Urbana, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus.
Inspired by the brand’s 100 Years of Good initiative, which is awarding 100 community-minded individuals and nonprofits $10,000 each in 2014 to empower them to continue their charitable ways, Peggy L., will receive her own $10,000 Great American Gratitude Award and is encouraged to also pay it forward. Ten first prize winners will be awarded Chicken of the Sea seafood for one year and 20 runners-up will receive a Chicken of the Sea-branded prize.
“The name Catalina encompasses everything we feel represents our brand,” says Christie Fleming, senior vice president of marketing, of the name, which also is the name of a historic island 22 miles off the West Coast mainland and close to Chicken of the Sea’s headquarters in San Diego. “Along with it being a naturally beautiful name suitable for our mermaid, it connects to our rich local history, as well as the adventurous spirit and lifestyle indicative of both our brand and our Southern California home.”
The announcement comes as Chicken of the Sea kicks off its Centennial celebration in 2014 with its Great American Gratitude tour which is visiting 39 cities across the country through Labor Day. Throughout the tour, hosted by Catalina herself, Chicken of the Sea will be awarding a total of $1 million in pay-it-forward investments.
“Instead of just presenting our Name the Mermaid Contest winner with a check for $10,000, we’re encouraging her to honor the pay-it-forward spirit of our Centennial celebration and use the money to continue the cycle of good,” says Fleming.