Home > Uncategorized > General Motors Abandoning the name “Chevy”

General Motors Abandoning the name “Chevy”


The New York Times had a story this morning about the fact that the new advertising agency for General Motors has decided to “drop” the nickname CHEVY for it’s automobiles after decades and decades of use.

Strange? As an IP lawyer it seems like a very strange thing to do. Here is a bit the the article.

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 put 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.

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