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Don't Call It Chevy? You Can't Be Serious

Thursday, 10 Jun 2010 | 11:03 AM ET

Looking for a good chuckle? Read the New York Times articlefrom today outlining how GM sent a memo to employees suggesting they stop saying Chevy when referring to Chevrolet. Apparently, GM believes it's important for a brand to have a consistent message. As I read this, I kept thinking to myself, "Are these guys serious?"

I'

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m not an expert in marketing and I'm sure there are plenty of studies and research about how important it is to have a consistent message. Who cares. When you have an iconic American brand like Chevy, you don't mess with it. What's next? Insisting singers and songwriters use Chevrolet instead of the popular term Chevy. Sorry boys, Chevy ain't going away.

This reminds me of how corporations buy the naming rights to a popular event or stadium and then expect people to use the new corporate name. For example, people in Boston say the Celtics play at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Aside from the announcers required to call it by the official name, most people simply call it the garden. I'm sure the TD Banknorth people would love people to use their name, but you can't mandate what you're known as by the public.

But even beyond that, the funny thing about GM's Chevrolet memo is that the company is trying to curb the use of a popular and valuable name. Companies would pay billions to get their brands known as well as Chevy is. So why run from that now? What's next? Telling people not to call a Cadillac a Caddy?

As much as they might not want their own people to use the term Chevy, GM executives should know that their own people will still call it Chevy. And fortunately for us, song writers will still sing songs about Chevy.

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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