SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--She’s left a memorable mark on pantry shelves and lunch and dinner tables for six decades, but the beautiful blonde who’s represented one of America’s most famous mealtime staples has somehow remained anonymous since debuting on Chicken of the Sea labels in 1952.
Today, though, she finally swims home with her own name.
After seafood fans submitted more than 49,000 entries in a nationwide contest to christen 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 famous 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 be 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,” Chicken of the Sea Senior VP of Marketing Christie Fleming said 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,” Fleming said.
Regardless of whether she’s had a name all these years, Catalina the Mermaid has enjoyed a storied past. She was inspired in 1952 by actress and singer Grace Lee Whitney, best known for her role as Yeoman Janice Rand, the personal assistant to Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek TV series, as well as five Star Trek films. And, for Chicken of the Sea’s 40th anniversary, the company arranged for pinup sensation Bettie Page to pose as the Mermaid in Southern California supermarkets.
And few can forget the animated Mermaid’s famous “Ask Any Mermaid You Happen to See…” jingle that dominated television in the 1960s, and still ranks as one the most memorable commercials in U.S. advertising history.
Chicken of the Sea: 100 Years of Good is one of the largest, most comprehensive Pay it Forward initiatives in consumer packaged goods history. The 12-month effort combines commemorative packaging, promotions and retailer programs with a six-month, nationwide promotional tour commemorating the brand’s Centennial anniversary.
For more information on Chicken of the Sea: 100 Years of Good or to nominate a recipient or nonprofit for a $10,000 Great American Gratitude award, go to www.chickenofthesea.com/100. A full Tour schedule is available.
About Chicken of the Sea
Chicken of the Sea (COS) celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2014 as a leading provider of healthy, sustainable and delicious seafood, offering not only a robust product line but the recipes and meal-planning insights needed to inspire seafood lovers to greater culinary creativity and inspiration. The company provides tuna, salmon, clams, crab, oysters, shrimp, mackerel, kipper snacks and sardines in cans, cups and pouches as well as innovative new products consistent with seafood’s growing status as a healthy “new” protein choice in America.
Headquartered in San Diego, COS sustainably sources its seafood products from around the world, and packages them at a state-of-the-art processing facility in Lyons, Ga., as well as at third-party facilities. The company is led by a team of industry veterans with more than 300 years of collective experience in the packaged seafood industry.
For information on Chicken of the Sea, including recipes, serving suggestions and nutritional and meal-planning insights as well as information on the latest new Chicken of the Sea products, go to www.chickenofthesea.com.