The news made Page 1 of today’s New York Times. “Chevy,” the decades-old nickname for General Motors’ Chevrolet, was to be banished from the lexicon. According to a memo sent to Chevrolet employees at G.M.’s Detroit headquarters, it was all about brand consistency:
Brand consistency, you say? “Coke” is a shortening of “Coca-Cola.” Apple is known more by its product names than by its corporate name. Pizza Hut is experimenting with “Hut,” the Sci-Fi Channel mutated to Syfy, Radio Shack wants to be known as Shack.
“We’d ask that whether you’re talking to a dealer, reviewing dealer advertising, or speaking with friends and family, that you communicate our brand as Chevrolet moving forward,” said the memo, which was signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the G.M. division’s vice president for marketing.
“When you look at the most recognized brands throughout the world, such as Coke or Apple for instance, one of the things they all focus on is the consistency of their branding,” the memo said. “Why is this consistency so important? The more consistent a brand becomes, the more prominent and recognizable it is with the consumer.”
Seems like a peculiar time for G.M. to stand on formality.
Moreover, General Motors owns many trademarks for “Chevy,” in categories including “pressure-sensitive graphics” and “bits and bit drivers for power drills.” It does not, however, own any part of Chevys Fresh Mex, a restaurant chain founded in Alameda, California, in 1986.
In any event, it all turned out to be a big Oh, Never Mind Then. By mid-day Thursday, G.M.—possibly responding to hundreds of emotional comments on auto blogs (“Corporate idiocy is alive and well!”)—had shifted into reverse, saying the memo had been “poorly worded” and affirming that “we love Chevy.”
And just in time, too. I can’t imagine how much it would have cost to rewrite the Chevy Volt song.
From the Wired Autopia blog.