GM Says Just Stop with the Chevy, Already--It's Chevrolet [UPDATE]

June 10, 2010
The Chevy Baseball App for iPhone, iPad, and iPod

The Chevy Baseball App for iPhone, iPad, and iPod

The car world loves a nickname: Volkswagen is "VW," Mercedes-Benz is simply "Benz," and BMWs are commonly called "Bimmers."

If General Motors' new marketing braintrust has its way, though, you'll stop using the word "Chevy."

The New York Times reports that Chevy marketing execs sent a memo to employees on Wednesday, asking them to stop using the popular diminutive for the storied GM brand.

And in a Tweet posted this morning, @GMBlogs tells the Twittersphere that "Because #Chevrolet is one of the fastest growing automotive brands globally, we will use #Chevrolet in internal and external communications."

In other words, no more Chevy Volt, no more Chevy Camaro, no more Chevy Malibu.

No more "Chevy," even, in the just-released Major League Baseball iPad app which GM sponsors, as seen here.

The move comes after months of turmoil in Chevrolet's marketing department. Campbell-Ewald, the agency of record, was broomed in favor of Publicis, but with the arrival of new Chevy management under GM CEO Ed Whitacre, that agency was released after about four weeks in favor of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

According to the memo cited by the Times, the memo flubs cites brands that regularly use nicknames for their products:

"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? Why is this consistency so important? The more consistent a brand becomes, the more prominent and recognizable it is with the consumer."

Coke is, of course, a common nickname for Coca-Cola.

It's unknown if GM has sent the memo to Don McLean, whose song "American Pie" probably is the most famous of dozens of songs using the word "Chevy." Or if they've sent it to Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, who probably did more for the proper pronunciation of the word "Chevy" than any single marketing executive in GM history.

They may not be able to even bring it up in a meeting without a fine: the Times reports there's a Loretta Young-ish "cuss-word" can that gets a quarter from any employee caught using the "C"-word.


UPDATE: GM's just issued this press release, in which it tosses around the "Chevy" word plenty:

DETROIT -- Today’s emotional debate over a poorly worded memo on our use of the Chevrolet brand is a good reminder of how passionately people feel about Chevrolet.  It is a passion we share and one we do not take for granted.

We love Chevy.  In no way are we discouraging customers or fans from using the name.  We deeply appreciate the emotional connections that millions of people have for Chevrolet and its products.

In global markets, we are establishing a significant presence for Chevrolet, and need to move toward a consistent brand name for advertising and marketing purposes.  The memo in question was one step in that process.

We hope people around the world will continue to fall in love with Chevrolets and smile when they call their favorite car, truck or crossover  “Chevy.”

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