The blond mermaid on the labels of San Diego-based Chicken of the Sea tuna cans for six decades finally has a name—Catalina.
The moniker was chosen in a contest that drew 49,000 entries. The naming was part of the company's 100th anniversary celebration.
"The name Catalina encompasses everything we feel represents our brand," said Christie Fleming, Chicken of the Sea's senior vice president of marketing. "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."
An entry submitted by an Ohio woman, identified only as Peggy L. of Urbana, won the contest's $10,000 first prize. The company also plans to give $10,000 each to 100 community-minded individuals and nonprofits as part of its birthday celebration.
According to Chicken of the Sea, the mermaid was inspired in 1952 by Grace Lee Whitney, an actress and singer. She's best known for her role as Yeoman Janice Rand, the personal assistant to Capt. James T. Kirk, in the original "Star Trek" television series and five "Star Trek" films.
For its 40th anniversary, the company arranged for pinup sensation Bettie Page to pose as the mermaid in Southern California supermarkets. The symbol also led to the the famous "Ask Any Mermaid You Happen to See" jingle heard in television commercials in the 1960s.
—City News Service