There’s dumb, and then there’s GM’s decision to drop the nickname ‘Chevy’

June 11
now and then a corporate marketing decision comes along that is so positively stupefying
that it stops me dead in my tracks. GM's decision to drop the word 'Chevy' in any
and all sales and marketing materials and replace it the more formal
'Chevrolet' is one of those landmark blunders. This is a
train wreck before it even happens. 
Thursday, Chevy tried to clarify their marketing misstep with this video which,
sadly, only further confuses the matter.

the consistency that other leading brands such as Coke and Apple have employed
in their communications efforts, Alan Batey, GM's VP for Chevy's Sales and
Service and Jim Campbell, Chevy's VP of Marketing, say opting for Chevrolet
will make the brand name more recognizable with consumers. Yeah, sure. And, I
want a pound of whatever drug Messrs, Batey and Campbell are consuming. It has
to be totally mind-altering.

as the
Times article rightly points
out, is an American icon. It's right up there with baseball and apple pie.
People won't stop using it because the brand decided to formalize the name.
Talk about change for the sake of change.

Batey and Campbell had their way, FedEx would go back to being called Federal
Express, ARod would go back to being Alex Rodriguez and erstwhile Peppercommer
Stein would revert to Andrew Stein. And, trust me, the latter just isn't going
to happen.

of the inanity of their move, the Batey/Campbell dynamic duo will now pour
millions of dollars into a re-branding and re-positioning effort. And, for
what? To get people to say Chevrolet instead of Chevy. That won't happen

America never ceases to amaze me. Just when it seems as if smart and
sophisticated marketing campaigns from the likes of OgilvyOne, Crispin and
others are starting to change the way we engage with consumers, something like
dropping the name Chevy comes along.

dumb and dumber. But, this may be dumbest. Period.

15 thoughts on “There’s dumb, and then there’s GM’s decision to drop the nickname ‘Chevy’

  1. A man please….y’all can’t take away Chevy…that’s like taking my life…do you want that on ur mind evry night…….. i mean thAt symbol stands for theeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…….”AMERICAN MUSCLE BIG BLOCKS AND SMALLs…… the SWISS CROSS IN RESPECT TO CHEVROLET HIM SELF BUT AKA AND MOST OFTENLY ADDRESSED IS CHEVY AND HIS PARENTS ON THE HOMELAND of west they may…..

  2. That surprises me, Peter. Jobs has been nearly flawless in various product and marketing introductions over the years. A Chevy will always be a Chevy. Ditto for the Mac.

  3. “…and in other business news this morning, Steve Jobs has told Apple employees that the product name for its computers is mow ‘MacIntosh, dammit, not Mac!’ The change will be implemented immediately. Apple has offered no opportunity for customer feedback.”

  4. The word ‘Chevy’ appears in many Rock classics, Goose, including Billy Joel’s ‘Moving out,’ in which he sings: I’m trading in my Chevy for a Cadillac.’

  5. GM seems to excel at attracting mediocre management talent. These two lunatics are just the latest in a long line of losers that began with Rick Waggoner. GM is very lucky Toyota’s having the troubles it is.

  6. There’s no question these two are attempting to save their jobs, Julie. Their doublespeak is classic corporate CYA lingo. I’m sure both will be gone soon enough. And, the world will continue calling the car a Chevy.

  7. umm, did they not realize that “chevy” is in the iconic song, american pie?? hello? “i took my chevy to the levy but the levy was dry”
    stupid decision on their part

  8. Guess their marketing partners didn’t get “The Memo;” saw an OnStar commercial last night where they mentioned that OnStar’s available free for the first year on Chevy cars. Chevy is warm, real, approachable, familiar and most likely what people who own/like and will consider purchasing call the brand. How in a million earth could these yahoos think that “Chevrolet” is better, by any stretch of the imagination. Coke II, anyone?

  9. This decision is dumb, for sure… but it sounds to me like Batey and Campbell are somehow trying really hard to justify their jobs, especially since there seems to be a revolving door of many top consumer marketing folks (from what I’ve read in Ad Age)…

  10. Thanks Peter. You just did what the GM executives couldn’t do. You admitted you were wrong. That’s all Batey and Campbell had to do. Instead, it’s just more obfuscation. That’s the type of behavior that caused the former GM to go into Chapter 11. Let’s hope such dysfunctional thinking doesn’t trigger a similar end result.

  11. I’ll admit when I’m wrong, and I was wrong about GM’s new marketing regime. It hasn’t even been a month, and they’ve shown themselves to mean, rude, stupid, amateurish, uncoordinated and clueless, sometimes all at once. That “explanation” video only makes things worse!
    OK, it’s only an internal memo. One could be generous and say Batey and Campbell were simply overzealous in trying to please their new boss, carry water for his favored agency and keep their jobs. At least be grateful these guys were shamed for their fuzzy-headed thinking before real money was committed.
    For further reference as to what fools these mortals be, look at Peter Arnell’s now-infamous 2009 Tropicana rebrand.