Just caught the headlines this morning on some of the news sites that I visit, and I was caught off guard by something going on with GM marketing.

Doesn't it always start with a memo?
Turns out that yesterday, Tuesday June 9th, 2010, GM executives Alan Batey (VP for Chevy Sales and Service) and Jim Campbell (VP for Marketing) sent a memo out to Detroit employees urging them to stop using a certain word. If they used that word, they can be fined by the company!

What's the word? Some horrible cuss word that makes mothers put their hands over their children's ears? Some terrible punchline to a joke where everyone is embarrassed? Some disturbing racial slur? What can it be that would be so important?

The offensive word that's off-limits to GM employees is CHEVY. signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the G.M. division’s vice president for marketing

Quote Originally Posted by GM Memo
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.
When you look at the most recognized brands throughout the world, such as Coke or Apple 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.

Group-think marketing at it's finest!
GM wants to get rid of the Chevy nickname in favor of "brand consistency" for the official name, Chevrolet. But, the Chevy brand (which is a brand!) often means more to many people (myself included) than the official name itself. Remember GM, YOU DON'T MAKE THE BRAND, the CUSTOMER makes and owns the brand and we collectively make it what it is.

Think about it, when did you last ask for a Coca Cola? No, you ask for a Coke (as their memo discusses) or Diet Coke or Coke Zero or Caffiene-free Diet Coke. We know the brand, we know the products, we get it. For this logic to apply, BMW should seek it's full name usage, Bavarian Motor Werks. KFC should go back to Kentucky Fried Chicken (which they wanted to get away from the thought of fried food in the first place), and the list goes on. I can't even remember how to spell the full name for the Husky chainsaw that I have in my garage, I think it's Husqvarna.

Where is all of this going?
Just a really STUPID decision, that's all I can sum it up to. Honestly, I am in marketing and this is "new coke" level of marketing incompetence.