Multiple sources report that the blogosphere (side note: my spell check actually recognizes “blogosphere” as a real word, uggh) is “erupting.”
This time, it’s over some bizarre memo circulated by GM leadership telling employees to, in essence, stop calling Chevrolet “Chevy.” And the clarification memo prompted by this initial memo. And the YouTube video response issued to clarify the clarification memo. And the Tweets Twittered to call attention to the video...arrgggh.
The reason behind this seemingly bizarre string of corporate communication has to do with GM wanting to maintain global brand consistency. It seems only folks in the US use the term “Chevy” and there is international confusion when folks outside the US visit the Chevrolet website and see the word “Chevy.”
Most of the spewing is being done by advertising and marketing types who, in summary, feel GM is behind the times in its branding strategy. They claim most companies are now favoring shortened versions of their name (think “FedEx”) to suit the modern consumer. Blah, blah, blah.
And what’s the blogosphere without the comments from the masses? Let me also sum up their position for you. Throngs of “Chevy” guys and gals are outraged at that GM would want to take their beloved term of endearment away and force them to say the longer by one whole sylable “Chevrolet.” My theory is that people, presumably the heartbeat of America (sorry, couldn’t resist), think it sounds French or something and this is just one of those “freedom fries” things.
But, back to the eruption.
I clicked through about a half-dozen (shame on me) posts. Pros, cons, reasons, excuses…whatever. But then I came across this explanation:
"I get calls from international colleagues asking me 'What is a Chevy,’" said German-born GM spokesman Klaus-Peter Martin. "It takes quite a long time to explain to them."
Maybe I’m missing something here, but a GM spokesperson should be able to answer “what is a Chevy” in his sleep. And he is German-born, so his style should be efficient (though he does have two first names, so something’s up…perhaps he’s half French?).
So, what is the reason it is so difficult to explain why “Chevrolet” would be shortened into “Chevy”? As far as nicknames go, it’s pretty intuitive. But, these are international colleagues, so maybe there are language barriers or something.
Want to start a real eruption? Just imagine trying to explain to an international colleague why, in the US, we call fat guys “slim” and the downtrodden “lucky.” Only in America!