After two decades, Catalina, the iconic mermaid mascot for Chicken of the Sea International (COSI), received a makeover in January 2023.
How does one refresh a legendary mascot like Catalina? We spoke with Andy Mecs, EVP, Commercial, at Chicken of the Sea International, on why it was time for Catalina to evolve, redesigning the Chicken of the Sea packaging in addition to its mascot, and where we might see Catalina next throughout the rest of the year.
Advertising Week: After two decades, how did you decide it was time for Catalina, and the Chicken of the Sea brand, to get a redesign?
Andy Mecs: Chicken of the Sea is an iconic brand that consumers have loved for generations. We felt that it was the right time to modernize the brand in a way that showcases the products and aligns with how consumers shop today. We needed to evolve our brand icon, Catalina, for the digital age in a way that was also relevant and genuine, which meant giving her an empowering makeover to better embody the inspiring brand character she has always been.
AW: Which agency did you collaborate with for the rebranding efforts?
AM: We partnered with Little Big Brands, a New York-based branding agency, on our new brand strategy, design, packaging graphics and creative campaign – our collaboration has been a true team effort.
AW: What were some of the most important updates made on the packaging and in its logos, such as moving Catalina away from the center of the logo and changing Catalina to be slightly more straightened in appearance?
AM: We prioritized shopability with our updated packaging — in addition to the important updates you noted (shifting Catalina from the center of the logo and straightening her appearance), simplifying and utilizing a clean design was key.
For example, enlarging the wordmark “Chicken of the Sea” in a simpler, red font against a white background makes our products much easier to read on the shelf. We needed to address the fact that, over the years, our packaging has become harder to spot. With the new logo and updated graphics, we want to change that perception with our shoppers.
AW: How would you describe the mermaid’s personality? Where did the name Catalina come from?
AM: The Chicken of the Sea mermaid debuted in 1952 and has been a beloved part of our brand ever since.
As part of the company’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2014, Chicken of the Sea held a contest to name our brand icon and she was named Catalina. Catalina the Mermaid’s personality is fun, positive, and confident. She is proud of her heritage and is empowered to move Chicken of the Sea into the future.
AW: Now that there is a new look and feel to the brand, will Catalina become more active as the company mascot?
AM: Yes, Catalina will become more active as our brand icon. The mermaid can be a family icon, and her new, modernized look gives us the opportunity to incorporate her much more in our communications. You’ll see her play more of a role in our social and digital media efforts (and more!).
AW: What’s ahead for Chicken of the Sea, and Catalina, in 2023? Where can we find and follow the brand on social?
AM: It’s an exciting time for Chicken of the Sea. The rebrand officially launched in January 2023 and updated packaging graphics will continue to roll out on shelves throughout the year. We also have some new and innovative products launching later this year!
Image Credit: Chicken of the Sea