A Rebranding Debate: Chevy vs. Chevrolet

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Chevrolet took a lot of criticism recently after launching a rebranding scheme aimed at eliminating “Chevy” from all future communications — including from the mouths of showroom salespeople.

The company initiated the change in the name of maintaining brand consistency. The New York Times obtained and printed portions of the internal memo, which recognized Coke and Apple as brands Chevrolet wanted to emulate.

“Why is this consistency so important? The more consistent a brand becomes, the more prominent and recognizable it is with the consumer,” the memo reads. The New Times Times rebutted, saying that “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 iPods, iPads, iPhones and MacBooks.”

Chevrolet was the best-selling car brand for a half-century following World War II. Corvettes, Camaros, and the Bel Air became as much a part of “The Heartbeat Of America” as “Baseball, Hot Dogs and Apple Pie,” as their respective slogans rightly bragged. Chevy is woven into the fabric of American pop culture, through movies, music, and more.

A spokesperson for General Motors told The New York Times that Chevrolet’s new advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners spearheaded the move. Many industry experts reacted to that accusation with skepticism, pointing out that the firm has a wealth of experience embedding brands in pop culture. In fact, when Goodby announced on their own website that they had landed the account they used “Chevy” and “Chevrolet” interchangeably.

After coming under fire last week, Chevrolet backed away from the Chevy debate and released a statement. Here is an excerpt:

“Today’s emotional debate over a poorly worded memo on our use of the Chevrolet brand is a good reminder of how passionately people feel about Chevrolet. It is a passion we share and one we do not take for granted. We love Chevy. 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.”

NYT: Saving Chevrolet Means Sending ‘Chevy’ to Dump

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