GM tells employees to stop saying ‘Chevy,’ welcomes customers’ use of name

GM tells employees to stop saying ‘Chevy,’ welcomes customers’ use of name


Automotive News | June 10, 2010 – 10:48 am EST

UPDATED: 6/10/10 4:43 p.m. ET
 

NEW YORK — If there’s one thing known about the work General Motors Co. has ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners working on, it’s that the shorthand "Chevy" won’t be used in any communications.

The New York Times got its hands on a memo that GM sent to employees Tuesday, which, in the name of consistency for its biggest brand, tells staffers to quit saying "Chevy." GM responded to the resulting “emotional debate” by embracing customers’ use of the abbreviated name and saying the memo was poorly worded.

The note wasn’t signed by GM’s new marketing chief, Joel Ewanick, who hired Goodby when he joined the Detroit automaker from Nissan last month. It was signed by Alan Batey, vice president of Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the division’s vice president of marketing.

The memo said:

"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 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 vs. Coca-Cola

The Times story noted that Coke is short for Coca-Cola and cited an expert saying GM’s initiative ran counter to a trend towards “more casual” branding, such as KFC for Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Autoblog.com, one of many Web voices taking GM to task for the memo, said: “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.”

In its statement, GM said today’s fuss showed "how passionately people feel about Chevrolet."

"We love Chevy," GM said. "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."

A GM spokesman told the Times that it the move was influenced by Goodby.

A ‘Chevy’ worth 25 cents

A postscript to the memo says a plastic can has been placed in the hallway, and "Every time someone uses ‘Chevy’ rather than Chevrolet," an employee is expected to toss in a quarter.

GM’s own Twitter page says "Talking Chevy One Tweet at a Time." It has also sponsored links on Google driving folks to the Web site by calling it "The Official Chevy Site."

In addition, the URL “chevy.com” redirects Web users to the full brand name.

Share
Seniority Lists
Recent Posts!
Bargaining Committee

Chairman
Mike Herron
President
Tim Stannard
Zone at Large – 1st
Danny Taylor
Zone at Large – 2nd
Mark Wilkerson
Committeepersons
Joe McClure
Chad Poynor
Steve Roberts
Derek Lewis
Bill Cundiff
Kirk Zebbs
Don Numinen
Jay Minella
Danny Bragg
Chris Hill
Rashad Thomas
Keith Oswald
Chris Brown

1853 Officers

President
Tim Stannard
Chairman
Mike Herron
Vice President
Darrell DeJean
Financial Secretary
Mark Wunderlin
Recording Secretary
Peggy Mullins
Trustee (3)
Jay Lowe
Dave Clements
Dave Spare
Sgt. at Arms
David C Spare
Guide
Ashley Holloway
E-Board at Large (2)
David Ryder
Steve Roberts
GM Unit Chair
Mike Herron
Leadec Unit Chair
Larry Poole
Ryder Unit Chair
Patrick Linck
AFV Unit Chair
Neil Osborne
Retiree Chair
Mike Martinez

Get Text Alerts



asdasdsd

*Standard text messaging rates may apply from your carrier