A pollack by any other name

We should all be eating more pollack, for cod’s sake. So say the environmentalists trying to save the perennial partner to chips from an early, non-watery grave: cod stocks in the North Sea are a mere fifth of what they were forty years ago.

Sainsbury’s have given the humble pollack a makeover to boost its popularity as an alternative. Shoppers have apparently previously blushed to ask for this fish by name. We must now all practise our French accents to request ‘colin’ (pronounced ‘co-lan’), which actually means ‘hake’ across the water.

Honourable motives? Mais oui. But will this prove to be a successful rebrand or just fishy jargon? And it brings to mind that age-old question: what’s in a name?

Quite a lot, it seems, in business. Finding just the right name for a brand is so important that it’s spawned its own industry to take care of the christening for you. It can be the difference between being noticed or passed over; remembered or forgotten – if you will: between being reeled in or thrown back. To borrow from branding firm Hinge’s website: ‘[a] name encapsulates all of the content – intellectual and emotional – that people associate with a product or service.’

The extent to which Colin the pollack will enter public consciousness and public house menus – well, time will tell. If nothing else, people are certainly taking the bait for its comedy and pun potential: why not call it Jackson? What a load of pollacks, etc.

It does seem to be catching on rather better than the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) campaign to gain sympathy for all fish by renaming them ‘sea kittens’. Even comedy has its limits.

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