So the C-level news story today that caught my eye was this one, about how The YMCA is no longer “The YMCA,” but officially just “The Y.” The reason seems to be that most people call it that, so that’s what it’s name should be.
I’d be shocked if I was the only one that saw this as kind of ridiculous. Does the YMCA need to be “hip?” Do they really need to redefine their image? It seems to me that most of the people I know are pretty opinion-neutral about the YMCA.
That article also addresses how this is a fairly common trend, where an organization adopts its shortened nickname as its official name. And I don’t mean just embracing it on an ad here or there, I mean full-on changing its name. I think only at the age of 9 would I have thought that calling it “KFC” or “The Shack” was cool. Of course that’s assuming that anyone ever actually called it “The Shack,” which I find extremely unlikely. “The Shack (with all the D-Grade Electronics),” maybe. I don’t think anything at any of those places is more trendy because of the name change; if anything I think they’re just stupider because the entire approach is very outdated. It makes me think of the 90’s, when I thought I was cool when I referred to Dr. Pepper as “Mr. Sneeze” and then laughed when people had no idea what I was talking about. DUH! Just think about it for a second!
But then there’s the case of organizations like NPR. Everyone calls it NPR, but we all know it means “National Public Radio.” Yet now they’re wanting to be officially referred to as NPR. What in the world is wrong with being “National Public Radio” and just acknowledging your nickname? “‘In many ways, we are just catching up to our audience,’ said Dana David Rehm, NPR’s senior vice president for marketing and communications.” No, you’re operating out of the misunderstanding that if you don’t call yourself what people call you, then you must be out of touch.
Well I for one will only refer to it as “The Y” because I know that’s short for “YMCA,” not because that’s its name, now.