G.M. proposes leaving a car’s popular nickname in the dust

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UPDATE 06/10/10: According to the Detroit Free Press:

General Motors has begun to backtrack on its decision to promote the word Chevrolet over the common Chevy, calling its own memo “poorly worded.”

A press release on the issue came just hours after word of the change, which one blogger recommended nominating to the Dumb Ideas Hall of Fame.

On Tuesday, G.M. sent a memo to Chevrolet employees at its Detroit headquarters, promoting the importance of “consistency” for the brand, which was the nation’s best-selling line of cars and trucks for more than half a century after World War II.

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.

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 iPads, iPhones and MacBooks.

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 brand consulting company, noted that FedEx had replaced Federal Express, KFC had supplanted Kentucky Fried Chicken and “even RadioShack has evolved into the Shack.”

Full story: G.M. Proposes Leaving a Car’s Popular Nickname in the Dust –