It was reported last week that UK Supermarket chain Sainsbury's announced that they were going to rename the white fish pollack with a French name, "colin." Apparently, they believed that flagging sales were due to Brits being embarrassed to ask for pollack, because of its similarity to the British word "Bollocks," which is slang for testicles. I don't buy that explanation, especially when the renaming comes (in some stores) with special packaging designed by Wayne Hemingway, but clearly inspired by artist Jackson Pollock.
Yes, I said packaging. Sainsbury's sells pollack prepackaged. So it's not as if customers have to ask out loud for the fish in stores. I think this is all an attempt to use the media for a bit of free publicity.
Because of its mild flavor, pollack, caught in British waters, is a good substitute for cod, whose numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years. It is a more popular fish in France than in the UK. It is also cheaper than cod.
To add a further level of complexity to this tale, the French word "colin" actually means "hake," rather than pollack. The French for pollack is actually "lieu jaune," which could unfortunately be pronounced "loo john." In addition, "colin" is actually pronounced "coh-lan," so as columnist Marcel Berlins rightly points out in the Guardian, "the supermarket took a decision to deal with a nonsensical problem by using a difficult-to-pronounce foreign word that is wrongly translated from the English."
My interest in all this? My Father's name is Colin!
Real problem or just a marketing ploy? Please post a comment and let me know what you think.
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