According to an internal memo leaked to the Times, Chevrolet wants you to stop calling it "Chevy." The memo was from GM to employees at Detroit headquarters: "We ask that whether you're talking to a dealer...or speaking with friends and family, that you communicate our brand as Chevrolet." "Swear jars" have been placed in hallways, and employees who let "Chevy" slip are expected to contribute a quarter. But, wait. Isn't Chevy one of the world's best-known product monikers, and longest lived? And isn't the trend away from proper brand names, to be more consumer-friendly and casual a la FedEx, KFC and The Shack? A GM spokesman who confirmed the memo linked the change to the recent switch from long-time ad agency Campbell-Ewald to Goodby, Silverstein (after a brief stopover at Publicis USA.) Could it be that smart cookies at Goodby "leaked" memo themselves, landing astonishingly good media coverage and generating heated convos about a brand that's been in the doldrums for years? They don't give out those Clio Lifetime Achievements for nothing.
UPDATE: Steve Hall of AdRants reports that GM has released a clarification that states the brand will not, in fact, urge people to discontinue the use of the word Chevy: We deeply appreciate the emotional connections that millions of people have for Chevrolet and its products. Pretty much plays out the way Bhargava predicted.
UPDATED UPDATE: The august Gray Lady devoted a Sunday (best-placement) editorial to Chevrolet vs. Chevy, ending with "foreigners will learn to love 'Chevy' the way Americans have ever since the company was founded in 1911." This is from a New York Times reporter? Or GM annual report?