UPDATE: The Associated Press reports GM has issued a statement saying their internal memo was "poorly worded" and that in no way" are they pushing anyone from using the name Chevy.
ORIGINAL POST: Around the water cooler at General Motors, the term 'Chevy' has become a cuss word.
The New York Times has a great piece -- it's well worth reading the whole thing -- this morning on an odd bit of branding strategy coming out of Detroit. According to an internal memo obtained by the NYT, GM has instructed it's employees to stop all uses of the word 'Chevy.'
At the automaker's Detroit headquarters, in fact, saying the word can get you fined. (Yes, there's actually a cuss jar.) Here's the NYT:
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."
The move seems to be aimed at restoring a certain sense of elegance and luxury to the Chevrolet brand -- which includes a disparate group of models from the SUV Tahoe and to cheaper cars like the Malibu and the Cruze . (Scroll down to WATCH the 1956 Chevrolet ad, which takes every opportunity to use the full version of the brand's name. )
On certain areas of the Chevrolet website, however, there are still more than a few uses of the term 'Chevy.'
The Detroit Free Press spoke to branding expert Rajeev Batra, who likened GM's move to USAir's decision to change its name to US Airways. The NYT's, however, notes that the larger trend in branding is to use shorter names like KFC, or FedEx.
Alan Batey, U.S. vice president for Chevrolet, told the Detroit Free Press: "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."
What do you think?