As American as Apple Pie

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jun 10 01:51:16 UTC 2010

That's the description that pops up on the link in Google News for the
NYT story on the new approach to Chevrolet at GM (or, as NYT puts it,

This is the Google headline:

> A Nickname as American as Apple Pie Is Sent to the Junkyard

And this is the one from NYT website:

> At G.M., Saving Chevrolet Means Sending Chevy to the Junkyard

A few lines from the story:
> And one way to present a consistent brand message, the memo suggested,
> is to stop saying “Chevy,” though the word is one of the world’s
> best-known, longest-lived product nicknames.
> “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,” said the memo, which was
> signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service,
> and Jim Campbell, the G.M. division’s vice president for marketing.
> ...
> One expert on branding said G.M.’s effort ran counter to a trend in
> which corporate names had become more casual. The consultant, Paul
> Worthington, head of strategy for Wolff Olins, a marketing and
> branding firm, noted that FedEx had replaced Federal Express, KFC. had
> supplanted Kentucky Fried Chicken and “even RadioShack has evolved
> into the Shack.”
> ...
> “Once it became an American icon, America took it away from G.M.,”
> said Mr. Guldstrand, 83. “They made it a Chevy. You’re doing a
> disservice to all the people by telling them not to call it a Chevy.”

I'd like to say that it's one of the dumber business decisions in US
history (never mind the language issue). It doesn't quite rank with
Moxie abandoning advertising. And, I suppose, that's only my opinion.
It's not about the trademark (GM owns both) and not about genericide (no
one calls a Ford a Chevy). So, to me, it's a mystery. Perhaps they
thought that any news is good news. Or, maybe, the are counting on that
plastic can to meet the revenue projections.


The American Dialect Society -

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