Can they still call it a 'Chevy'?

GM gives -- and apparently later retracts -- license to kill the word 'Chevy.'

By Kim Peterson Jun 10, 2010 5:26PM

2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS (©Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)General Motors caused a ruckus this week by telling employees to phase out the "Chevy" nickname in favor of "Chevrolet."

The company asked workers to say "Chevrolet" when talking to a dealer or even when speaking with friends or family, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

Why kill off one of the most beloved American brand names? To be consistent, the memo said.

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

As the Times points out, it's rather odd to use those two examples since Coke also goes by Coca-Cola and Apple is known for its Mac brand.

Chevrolet was previously very comfortable with using the word Chevy in its advertising and on its website. So why the change now? One Chevrolet spokesman appeared to credit Chevrolet's advertising firm, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, for instigating the new rules.

That firm, by the way, won awards for its advertising spots for Chevy's fresh Mex restaurants, reports Bradley Johnson at Advertising Age.

At any rate, Chevrolet has put its Chevy mandate into reverse, and now calls the memo "poorly worded," according to The Wall Street Journal. Now, Chevrolet says it loves the Chevy name and hopes people still use it.

Still, the company says it wants to focus on the full Chevrolet name, particularly as it expands into international markets where people aren't as familiar with Chevy.

"Chevy is a good nickname because it’s easy to say, easy to spell and hard to make fun of," writes Jonathan Welsh. "The marketing wizards at its parent General Motors should leave that one alone."

So what do you think, readers? Should GM sacrifice "Chevy" in order to have purer and more consistent branding? Or can Chevrolet perform just as well with two names instead of one?

Tags: GM
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