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Saving Chevrolet Means Sending ‘Chevy’ to Dump

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Saving Chevrolet Means Sending ‘Chevy’ to Dump

By RICHARD S. CHANG

Published: June 9, 2010

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Bye-bye, indeed, Miss American Pie. If General Motors has its way, you won’t be driving your Chevy to the levee ever again.

On Tuesday, G.M. sent a memo to Chevrolet employees at its Detroit headquarters, promoting the importance of “consistency” for the brand, which was the nation’s best-selling line of cars and trucks for more than half a century after World War II.

And one way to present a consistent brand message, the memo suggested, is to stop saying “Chevy,” though the word is one of the world’s best-known, longest-lived product nicknames.

“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.”

Although the memo cites Coke, it does not note that Coke is shorthand for Coca-Cola — or that Apple is not commonly used in reference to its products, which are known simply as iPads, iPhones and MacBooks.

One expert on branding said G.M.’s effort ran counter to a trend in which corporate names had become more casual. The consultant, Paul Worthington, head of strategy for Wolff Olins, a brand consulting company, noted that FedEx had replaced Federal Express, KFC. had supplanted Kentucky Fried Chicken and “even RadioShack has evolved into the Shack.”

Regardless, if Chevrolet plans to puts the Chevy genie back in the bottle, the task could prove harder than climbing out of bankruptcy.

As of Wednesday night, the word Chevy appeared dozens of times on Chevrolet’s Web site, chevrolet.com, including a banner on the home page that said, “Over 1,000 people a day switch to Chevy.” One of the dropdown menus was “Experience Chevy.” On Facebook, brand pages include Chevy Camaro, Chevy Silverado and Team Chevy.

If taken to its logical conclusion, Chevrolet would presumably need to ask Jeff Gordon, the four-time Nascar Sprint Cup champion who currently races a Chevrolet Impala, to change the Web site address — jeffgordonchevy.com — for his dealership in Wilmington, N.C.

And what about rolling back the popular culture references to Chevy? Elton John, Bob Seger, Mötley Crüe and the Beastie Boys have all sung about Chevy, and hip-hop artists rap about “Chevy Ridin’ High” or “Ridin’ in My Chevy.”

“It’s a ’Vette, it’s a Caddy, it’s a Chevy,” said Dick Guldstrand, a long-time racer who has been inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame. He noted that the brand was named for Louis Chevrolet, a race driver of the early 20th century.

“Once it became an American icon, America took it away from G.M.,” said Mr. Guldstrand, 83. “They made it a Chevy. You’re doing a disservice to all the people by telling them not to call it a Chevy.”

In 2006, Chevrolet updated a series of popular commercials with the tagline “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet," which noted how the brand was woven into the fabric of American culture.

The commercial juxtaposed imagery of past baseball greats with modern ones. And at the end, the narrator says, “Apparently, baseball’s changed a little over the years, but not America’s love of the game — or love for Chevy.”

So why make the change now? G.M. wasn’t saying, but the memo came after several major marketing moves. The memo was provided to The Times by the disbelieving recipient of a copy.

In April, Chevrolet dismissed its long-time ad agency, Campbell-Ewald. The account went to Publicis USA, but only for a month before it was switched again, this time to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Klaus-Peter Martin, a G.M. spokesman, confirmed the memo. "We’re going to use Chevrolet instead of Chevy going forward in our communications," he said in a telephone interview, and linked the change to the move to Goodby.

Mr. Worthington, the branding expert, said Chevrolet seemed unclear what the brand stood for. But ultimately, he said, consumers “will call you whatever they want to call you.”

But not Chevrolet staff members. A postscript to the memo says a sort of cuss jar — a plastic “Chevy” can — has been situated in the hallway. “Every time someone uses ‘Chevy’ rather than Chevrolet,” the note said, the employee is expected to put a quarter in the can.

link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/10/automobiles/10chevy.html?hp

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Report: General Motors wants to snuff out "Chevy" nickname [w/poll]

by Alex Nunez (RSS feed) on Jun 10th 2010 at 3:15AM

Folks, there are bad ideas, and there ones that are legendary in their badness. Unfortunately for General Motors, it would appear that the automaker may very well be lobbying for its own wing in the Dumb Idea Hall of Fame. The New York Times reports that a memo distributed to workers at the company's headquarters earlier this week instructs them to cease referring to the Chevrolet brand by its long-standing nickname, Chevy. Going forward, only Chevrolet is to be used. The reasoning? So-called branding consistency. If you're thinking, "That's insane," well, we don't blame you.

It gets better.

The Times further points out that the memo, signed by Chevy marketing vice president Jim Campbell (you see what we did there) and Alan Batey, VP of Chevy sales and service (there we go again), uses Coke – Coke – as an example of what GM is trying to achieve with this approach. It would seem that the powers-that-be at the RenCen are oblivious to the irony that Coke is, of course, shorthand for the company's formal name, Coca-Cola.

In a nutshell, we feel that the Coke comparison GM uses in the memo is ultimately rather apt, given that the idea of memory-holing "Chevy" as part of some absurd branding exercise seems destined to be a failure on the level of New Coke. GM's got its work cut out for itself, regardless. As of right now, Chevrolet.com has 5,480 "Chevy" mentions on it according to Google. GM.com? 1,730 more. That Chevy is inextricably tied to Chevrolet is a reality GM's marketers are apparently divorced from.

We can't be the only ones who think this is perhaps the very worst in a long history of horrible ideas... So, what's your take? Hit the jump and have your say in our poll. Thanks to CpuYoda for the tip!

link:

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/06/10/report-general-motors-wants-to-snuff-out-chevy-nickname-w-po/

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Everyone calls it Chevy though, even in all their ads they say Chevy. It would be easier to dump "chevrolet" if they want consistency. But then again, when does GM care about consistency? Cavalier-Cobalt-Cruze for example, they change names on products a lot.

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Has nothing changed at GM ........ what kind of money does this cost GM to be stupid.

MEMO:

Name change levee = levoret so the song works ........... kinda

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GM sheds Chevy moniker, will drive home use of 'Chevrolet'

BY ZLATI MEYER

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Aerosmith sings about a "rag-top Chevy." the B-52s "liked your Chevy Duster." The Eurythmics "took the little Chevy down to Mexico."

CRAVING NATURE? GO GALAPAGOS FOR A CURE

But now, the nickname for the iconic car brand is itself hitting the road. Chevy, er, Chevrolet, officials announced that the General Motors name plate must be referred to as "Chevrolet."

"We go back 100 years of history next year of selling automobiles and with that obviously has come a great nickname," Alan Batey, U.S. vice president for Chevrolet sales, told the Free Press this morning. " We love it when people call us that, because it’s our nickname... As we now think globally, there’s really an opportunity to drive consistency in our communications."

He explained that it’s evolved into a bit of an inside joke around the company, where employees have been creating Chevy jars -- essentially swear jars, but where saying the word “Chevy,” rather than a cuss word, incurs a fine. As a 30-year GM veteran, he admitted, “I say ‘Chevy’ without even thinking about it.”

Batey denied that the rebranding had anything to do with Chevrolet’s new ad agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners. General Motors fired Campbell Ewald of Warren in April after more than nine decades of handling Chevrolet advertising campaigns, such as “See the USA in Your Chevrolet” and "Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet.”

“Our nickname is very U.S.- based; the opportunity to use Chevrolet is there for us,” he said, referring to the 130 companies where Chevrolet does business.

University of Michigan marketing professor Rajeev Batra sees both pros and cons in the rebranding decision.

"The upside is simply General Motors with all its brands is seeking to regain a high-quality luster for its brand that they’ve lost and maybe there’s some research out there showing that by calling it 'Chevrolet,' the brand seems suddenly to have more stability and reliability," he said this morning.

Batra, the author of “Advertising Management,” likened it to USAir’s decision to rename itself US Airways: “Their research shows that when people heard ‘USAir,’ it seemed less large.”

While songwriters may not be pleased with the brand directive, at least one other person in the arts – literature – will be happy. Ramona Quimby, the classic protagonist in books by children’s author Beverly Cleary, named her doll after Chevrolet, because she loved how it sounded.

There are negative aspects of Chevy returning to its Chevrolet roots, too.

“The downside would be the obvious one that if over decades the American people have come to call the brand ‘Chevy,’ which gives it a sense of familiarity -- ‘Chevy’s’ like an old buddy. It’s like an old pair of jeans -- it’s something you feel comfortable in,” Batra said. “There’s a lot of talk these days about consumer co-opting brands and making brands their own and I think by renaming Chevrolet ‘Chevy,’ what consumers have done is taken charge of the brand and made it its own. By forcing it to be called ‘Chevrolet,’ the company may be putting more distance between consumers and the brand, which is unwise.”

Chevrolet spokesman Klaus-Peter Martin didn’t know when the car company got its nickname but theorized that it was in the 1940s or 1950s, by which time references to “Chevy” were appearing in pop culture.

Like many car company names, “Chevrolet” comes from the name of its founders -- in this case Louis Chevrolet, a Swiss-born former race car driver and designer who joined forces with GM founder William Durant. According to the company Web site, GM bought the brand in 1918.

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I can see deciding not to use "Chevy" in any advertising, but acting like they're going to be able to get rid of the use of "Chevy" altogether is just silly.

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In terms of formal/business communication it makes sense. What doesn't make sense is to make a huge deal about it :/

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This is a case of a reporter going off the deep end. GM is just going to consistently use "Chevrolet" in it's marketing.... that's all.

Even GM is saying people are making a much bigger deal out of it than they should be.

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Umm, it turns out GM is backtracking. They are not 'getting rid or Chevy name', just re-emphasizing the full name.

I agree with using Chevrolet for sponsorships and other large scale ads. For past year, sports games said 'Brought to you by Chevy', but sounds cheap. 'Chevy' is best used as it was meant to be, a nickname and used second to the full name.

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Statement on the use of Chevrolet and Chevy

"Chevy" will continue to reflect the enthusiasm of customers and fans

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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GM: 'Poorly worded' Chevy memo not meant for fans

New York Times News Service and Detroit News staff reports

General Motors today backtracked from a memo discouraging the use of “Chevy” to describe its Chevrolet brand.

On Tuesday, GM sent a memo to Chevrolet employees at its headquarters, promoting the importance of "consistency" for the brand, which was the nation's best-selling line of cars and trucks for more than half a century after World War II.

But in a statement issued today, General Motors said " 'Chevy' will continue to reflect the enthusiasm of customers and fans."

"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," it said.

"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."

But the automaker noted that "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."

In Tuesday's memo, the automaker asked 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." It was signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the GM division's vice president for marketing.

Chevrolet said that "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."

Although the memo cites Coke, it does not note that Coke is shorthand for Coca-Cola -- or that Apple is not commonly used in reference to its products, which are known simply as iPads, iPhones and MacBooks.

One expert on branding said GM's effort ran counter to a trend in which corporate names had become more casual. The consultant, Paul Worthington, head of strategy for Wolff Olins, amarketing and branding firm, noted that FedEx had replaced Federal Express, KFC had supplanted Kentucky Fried Chicken and "even RadioShack has evolved into the Shack."

Regardless, if Chevrolet plans to puts the Chevy genie back in the bottle, the task could prove harder than climbing out of bankruptcy.

If taken to its logical conclusion, Chevrolet would presumably need to ask Jeff Gordon, the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion who currently races a Chevrolet Impala, to change the website address -- jeffgordonchevy.com -- for his dealership in Wilmington, N.C.

And what about rolling back the popular culture references to Chevy? Elton John, Bob Seger, Motley Crue and the Beastie Boys have all sung about Chevy, and hip-hop artists rap about "Chevy Ridin' High" or "Ridin' in My Chevy."

Worthington, the branding expert, said Chevrolet seemed unclear what the brand stood for. But ultimately, he said, consumers "will call you whatever they want to call you."

But not Chevrolet staff members. A postscript to the memo says a sort of cuss jar -- a plastic "Chevy" can -- has been situated in the hallway.

"Every time someone uses 'Chevy' rather than Chevrolet," the note said, the employee is expected to put a quarter in the can.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100610/AUTO01/6100449/1148/auto01/GM---Poorly-worded--Chevy-memo-not-meant-for-fans#ixzz0qTqKDP8U

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Well, what they are trying for is what BMW has - a nickname that people use that is not used by the company itself (Bimmer/Beamer).

Except nobody ever gets that right and ends up calling a bimmer a beamer for the most part, which is incorrect.

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Chevy dealers: What's the big deal?

Diana T. Kurylko

Automotive News -- June 10, 2010 - 3:44 pm ET

Some Chevrolet dealers said today they aren't sure why there's such a brouhaha over General Motors Co.'s edict that the shortened “Chevy” name not be used in company communications.

On Tuesday, GM sent a memo to employees urging they use the brand's full name Chevrolet for consistency.

Dealers said customers aren't likely to stop saying Chevy.

“Everybody seems to call it Chevy and not Chevrolet, so how do you retrain the entire world?” asked Gordon Stewart, who owns four Chevrolet stores.

GM already began retreating from the memo early today, just hours after the news broke in The New York Times.

Reacting to what it called an “emotional debate,” GM put out a statement today saying “We love Chevy,” but saying the brand needs a consistent name for advertising and marketing. The statement called the memo “poorly worded.”

It added: “In no way are we discouraging customers or fans from using the name.”

40 years too late?

Robert Potamkin, who owns the Potamkin Automotive Group, including Potamkin GM in Manhattan, said: “I don't think they will be successful in getting people to change from calling Chevy Chevrolet.”

“They are swimming upstream. Chevy is a household name,” said Potamkin. “They are probably 40 years too late."

Stewart said he thinks the employee mandate will be short-lived. The full Chevrolet name and logo are used in advertising, he says.

Stewart notes that “Chevy” is too strongly ingrained in pop culture to disappear. “There are even songs -- ‘I drove my Chevy to the levee' -- that's why everyone knows the brand,” said Stewart, whose stores are in Garden City, Mich.; Tampa, Fla.; Orange Park, Fla.; and Augusta, Ga.

Tommy Brasher, owner of Brasher Motor Co. in Weimar, Texas, said the flap “doesn't doesn't bother me one way or another.”

But he also agreed consumers aren't going to stop saying “Chevy.”

“It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks,” he said. “Surely they have more serious things to worry about.”

Won't change the image

John Manganelli, owner of 86th Street Chevrolet in Brooklyn, N.Y., said the average layman knows the terminology. “Everyone who is looking to drive an automobile knows Chevy means Chevrolet and General Motors.”

Manganelli said using Chevrolet won't change the company's image. “I don't feel it's a big deal.”

Richard Malouf, owner of Malouf Chevrolet Cadillac Inc. in North Brunswick, N.J., said it's too early to assess whether there will be a major change in the way GM advertises Chevrolet product.

Malouf said employees in his dealership usually say Chevrolet -- just like they say Cadillac. “You don't say Caddy. When a customer knows what Chevrolet is, you may use Chevy.”

Other brands certainly don't shorten their names, Malouf said. “You don't say ‘Lexy' for Lexus or ‘Merc' for Mercedes-Benz.”

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100610/RETAIL03/100619986/1261#ixzz0qULybY3C

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Other brands certainly don't shorten their names, Malouf said. “You don't say ‘Lexy' for Lexus or ‘Merc' for Mercedes-Benz.”

I'm going to start shortening the Japanese big three to Toyondaissan in all future Cheers and Gears correspondence and marketing.

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Bimmer Beamer Chev Chevy who gives a rats nest. Why would anyone within GM put more then a idle thought to the word. All anyone needed to say within GM is to always use CHEVROLET on everything. These clowns talk about the passion people have, when some of us think it's a waste of time, effort, money.

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I'm going to start shortening the Japanese big three to Toyondaissan in all future Cheers and Gears correspondence and marketing.

sounds good

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GM Issues Statement on 'Chevy' Name after Leaked Memo Prompts Staff to Dump Nickname

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Earlier this morning, the New York Times reported that on Tuesday, General Motors sent a special memo to Chevrolet employees at its Detroit headquarters politely (sic) suggesting they ditch the "Chevy" moniker for "consistency" of the brand.

The Detroit automaker responded with an official statement which more or less supports the use of the 'Chevy' nickname by consumers and fans alike (as if GM could do anything to stop them...), but says nothing about its employees. That said, it appears GM staff are indeed being told to avoid saying Chevy when referring to Chevrolet.

The Times quoted this memo signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the G.M. division's vice president for marketing:

"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."

"When you look at the most recognized brands throughout the world, such as Coke [how ironic that GM refers to Coca Cola with its nickname...] 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."

In addition, the Times reported that a postscript to the memo says "Every time someone uses 'Chevy' rather than Chevrolet, the employee is expected to put a quarter in the can", with the proceeds to be spent on "a team building activity," [for example, egg the people that came up with this brilliant idea...].

Here's General Motors' official statement on the matter:

"Chevy" will continue to reflect the enthusiasm of customers and fans

"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."

link:

http://carscoop.blogspot.com/2010/06/gm-issues-statement-on-name-after.html

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Dealers mystified by Chevy move

BY SARAH A. WEBSTER

FREE PRESS AUTOMOTIVE EDITOR

If GM had ordered the use of Chevy over Chevrolet, this decision for consistency’s sake might have made sense, a few Chevy dealers told the Free Press today.

But to go back to an older, longer, traditional name — over a hipper, shorter name in this digital era — has them scratching their heads and trying to play nice with the “new” GM, which has been out of bankruptcy for just over a year now.

“I want to be a team player,” said Steve Cook, owner of Cook Chevrolet-Buick, just north of Flint. But, he added, he would continue to use the word Chevy in his ads and elsewhere “unless they are very committed.”

He said he agreed that going to Chevy alone would have made better sense.

Another dealer, who requested to be anonymous for fear of retribution from GM, was less diplomatic about GM’s decision to prefer Chevrolet over Chevy.

“They have lost it. I just read it. My kids love Chevy. Is my son going to say a Chevrolet Camaro?” he said. “No way. Ugh. … Crazy.”

Don Kahan, who owns a Chevrolet dealership in Lee's Summit, Mo., hadn’t heard about GM’s Chevy memo until called by a reporter. He said he would need to reflect on the decision, but noted: “It’s totally impractical to use a long word. Chevy has been associated with Chevrolet for so long.”

Finally, he added, that he prefers the shorter Chevy in digital communications. His email ends with “kahanchevy.com.”

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100610/BUSINESS01/100610045/1210/BUSINESS01/Dealers-mystified-by-Chevy-move

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Whoever thought this up in the first place has spent way too much time in an insulated ivory tower listening to his own psychobabble on marketing for way too long.

And believing it.

Beyond stupid.

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Considering that GM wasn't the one who came up with it, Americans did as a term of endearment, you know, a nickname, for one of their favorite brands. What a ridiculous thing for GM...I mean General Motors to do.

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