As the world’s stocks of traditionally edible fish (tuna, salmon, and so on) dwindle and collapse, there’s been a real call to reinvent and market unattractive old fish. Thus we’ve seen slimeheads become orange roughys and Patagonian toothfish become Chilean sea bass. NOAA has mounted an entire campaign around making the spiny, venomous lionfish sound attractive enough to eat.
The idea guys at a Midwestern marketing agency called Fast Horse have another suggestion that seems entirely plausible.
“For obvious reasons, lots of people want to slow or halt the spread of [Asian carp] from southern waterways into Minnesota. One idea gaining traction these days is to harvest Asian carp as food. … But the Asian carp has a gigantic image problem. They’ve been demonized as an invasive species. Who wants to eat the bad guy? The Asian carp needs an extreme brand makeover.”
The post goes on to point out some other states’ attempts to rebrand the fish, none of which are all that plausible. A Chicago restaurant tried Shanghai Bass (sounds like a sex act, let’s be honest), Kentuckians called it Kentucky Tuna (also sort of sounds … well, I don’t know, I just know I don’t want to eat “Kentucky Tuna”), and in Louisiana, wildlife officials came up with Silverfin, which is just two precious consonants away from being “Silverfish,” something you never, ever want to look at, let alone put in your mouth.
The Fast Horse suggestion: “Cyprinia.” Absolutely solid. A little mysterious, actually derived from the fish’s scientific name, and reminiscent of another proposed rebranding, that of catfish to Delacata.
And if it catches hold and gets people cooking and eating Asian carp, we’ll all be better off for this judicious sprinkling of marketing magic.