Thursday, June 10, 2010

GM, Goodby Pulling Stupid Stunt

In today's New York Times, an internal Chevrolet memo is reported on, and I'm calling "Bullshit." According to two idiots in GM's upper management,

"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."

They also say,

"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. This is a big opportunity for us moving forward."

As if Coke isn't also called Coca-Cola. And yes, they said, "Moving forward" twice. The article then quotes one Klaus-Peter Martin, a GM spokesman, who confirmed the memo, saying, "We’re going to use Chevrolet instead of Chevy going forward in our communications." Martin said the move is linked to Chevy's switch to new agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Going forward. Moving forward. Branding. Consistency in branding. Bullshit. As if Chevy isn't just as well known a name (if not more so) as Chevrolet. If this is Goodby's doing, I'm disappointed. An agency known for good work shouldn't pull stupid stunts like this. This has the stench of set-up. I suspect a turnaround in a few months. A calculated and transparent "change of heart" where the big wigs at Chevy will announce something to the effect of,

"The American people have spoken. They love the nickname "Chevy." We miscalculated in our efforts to be consistent in our branding. We can no more change America's mind about America's favorite car than we could ask them not to salute the flag, eat apple pie and play baseball. Going forward, you can call Chevrolet "Chevy" all you want, and you can keep calling it America's favorite car."

If I'm wrong and this isn't just a stupid stunt, then it's just plain stupid. A brand should be lucky to have an affectionate nickname. McDonald's embraces "Mickey D's" and up until now, Chevrolet has always embraced "Chevy."

And not surprisingly, a few pages after the article is a full-page ad from Chevy announcing that its Equinox model has won some award from Consumer's Digest. And where do they tell us we can go to learn more?

(Go on. Click it. I worked hard mutilating this old Chevy ad)

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