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It's fun to stay at the Y---!
July 13, 2010 12:12 AM   Subscribe

Brought to you by the letter Y: The YMCA gives in to Sesame Street pressure and stops hogging the letters.
posted by karminai (50 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, you just know this is MCA Universal NBC Universal Vivendi overzealously protecting its trademark.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:39 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


But no mention of the massive benefit involved in removing the word 'christian' from a modern organisation?

I mean okay we live in the world of twitter and iphones, but removing three letters is ridiculous. Removing a polarising and misleading nine letter word though, genius.
posted by shinybaum at 12:41 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


But no mention of the massive benefit involved in removing the word 'christian' from a modern organisation?... Removing a polarising and misleading nine letter word though, genius.

Funny. As a female growing up in YMCA programs all my life, I've always found Mens to be more polarizing and misleading.
posted by karminai at 12:49 AM on July 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


@karminai There are also Y.W.C.A.s -- there was one in my town with a pool and housing for low-income women.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:50 AM on July 13, 2010


I've always found Mens to be more polarizing and misleading.

To be honest I wouldn't have been allowed to set foot in the place when I was younger because of the christian origins and had less than no idea women can even use it, so fair point.

Still, take away the men and the christian and you still get better results than 'shortening the name for practical reasons, honest guvnor'.
posted by shinybaum at 12:55 AM on July 13, 2010


There are also Y.W.C.A.s

I thought so too but I checked and it said men and women could use the mens ones. No idea how universal that is.
posted by shinybaum at 12:57 AM on July 13, 2010


shinybaum echos my initial thoughts exactly. Funny, they're building a new Y in downtown Houston, to be completed in October, and it's got giant 6-foot letters frosted into the front glass lobby. Wonder if they regret that design decision now.
posted by Brittanie at 12:57 AM on July 13, 2010


Everyone just calls it The Y anyway, so whatever.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:57 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are also Y.W.C.A.s -- there was one in my town with a pool and housing for low-income women.

Is your YWCA outreach exclusive to women? (If so, that's interesting that the YMCA extends to both sexes.)

I wasn't slamming on the YMCA/YWCA organizations by any means, just pointing out that the "Men's" may be more obsolete than "Christian"-- after all, they state that they have "a mission to put Christian principles into practice."

And I've never been turned away from a YMCA for lacking the Y chromosome.
posted by karminai at 12:59 AM on July 13, 2010


I don't think everyone calls it the Y in England.
posted by shinybaum at 1:00 AM on July 13, 2010


after all, they state that they have "a mission to put Christian principles into practice."

The North American YMCA seems to be different to other countries. The Canadian mission statement doesn't mention Christianity:

The YMCA in Canada is dedicated to the growth of all persons in spirit, mind and body and a sense of responsibility to each other and the global community.
posted by shinybaum at 1:07 AM on July 13, 2010


There's always the Young Men's Reformed Cultists of the Ichor God Bel-Shamharoth Association, for those who prefer their gods to be more eldritch.
posted by Electric Dragon at 2:00 AM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Now we can call it the "Y Not?", or perhaps even the Mohune Arms.
posted by Phanx at 2:28 AM on July 13, 2010


The letter Y looks more like female genitalia (SFW) than any other letter. This strikes terror into Young Christian Men.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:38 AM on July 13, 2010


I always knew TheY would turn out to be behind everything.

cf. "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers." — Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
posted by chavenet at 3:45 AM on July 13, 2010


O. I C.
posted by ardgedee at 4:10 AM on July 13, 2010


Y?
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:17 AM on July 13, 2010


But... the old logo was already a big Y. They may have removed the "MCA" part from their name, but they added a "the" to the logo.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:27 AM on July 13, 2010


Ah, marketing. I would have loved to be in the testing on potential names: MCA, Young Men CA, After X....
posted by zerobyproxy at 4:33 AM on July 13, 2010


Rebranding for relevance and hipness, but no additional Xs, Zs, .coms, or 2.0s? Nonsense. This clearly won't last.
posted by Mizu at 5:02 AM on July 13, 2010


The was a sign in the window of the Central YMCA in London a few years ago that read:

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE YOUNG
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A MAN
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE CHRISTIAN
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:03 AM on July 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm more than OK losing this MCA, as long as the Beastie Boys keep theirs.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:30 AM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Just read an article on this rebranding on Brand New five minutes ago.
posted by smackfu at 5:46 AM on July 13, 2010


That Brand New article also clearly shows that the full "YMCA" acronym is in the new logo.

In fact, the old logo just contained a "Y," whereas the new one contains all four letters. Color me confused. It sounds like they went in the opposite direction of what everybody (including "The Y" themselves) are claiming.
posted by schmod at 6:17 AM on July 13, 2010


But no mention of the massive benefit involved in removing the word 'christian' from a modern organisation?

How odd. By far the most famous Y in New York City is the 92nd Street Y (recently re-branded to "92Y" presumably because they opened a Tribeca branch). It's a YMHA -- Young Men's Hebrew Association -- not a YMCA at all. That's New York for you, I guess.
posted by The Bellman at 6:40 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are also Y.W.C.A.s

I thought so too but I checked and it said men and women could use the mens ones. No idea how universal that is.


I don't think that the rec facilities have been gender-segregated for a long time.

When I was a kid in the 70s-80s, the YMCA had the more elaborate recreational facilities; the YWCA was more like an annex that did more outreach-type programs and some classes and support groups.
posted by desuetude at 6:41 AM on July 13, 2010


Is your YWCA outreach exclusive to women? (If so, that's interesting that the YMCA extends to both sexes.)

The Y my boyfriend and I belong to is a YWCA. But I always thought it was a weird Minnesota thing, like how the Democrats here are the DFL.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:49 AM on July 13, 2010


My Canadian YMCA has a very soft reference to Christianity in the values:

We Believe:
3. In the values commonly shared by Christianity and other faiths in our community.


I wonder if each location has some control over that sort of thing.
posted by arcticwoman at 6:59 AM on July 13, 2010


What with it being a Christian men's organization, and one with change rooms at that, I always figured it was a kind of repressed gay men's hookup zone.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:17 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, the Y in my area is frickin' awesome by any name.
posted by Mister_A at 7:30 AM on July 13, 2010




I have a friend who used to work for the national YMCA office and now works for a local Y. He's very put off by what he sees as a shift away from the mission on a national level. And that's not just about Christian vs. not Christian, though he is a Christian; that's about an organization that's about being a public, safe, nourishing space for the entire community. In most cities, its marketing now amounts to, "Hey, cheap gym!"

But putting these aside, I think that this trend in marketing is really stupid. The Shack, The N. When I started in college, our school's logo looked like this. When I graduated, it looked like this. These rebrands make no sense because they rely on everyone knowing what the organization used to be called. It's trading the generations of name recognition you've built up for a temporary bump.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:56 AM on July 13, 2010


This is actually really convenient. I can go straight from The Shack to The Y while listening to NPR.
posted by cmoj at 8:02 AM on July 13, 2010


The Y my boyfriend and I belong to is a YWCA. But I always thought it was a weird Minnesota thing, like how the Democrats here are the DFL.

Isn't the DFL party technically a separate party that has been absorbed into the Democratic Party?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:03 AM on July 13, 2010


They didn't go with this??
posted by MtDewd at 8:35 AM on July 13, 2010


That Brand New article also clearly shows that the full "YMCA" acronym is in the new logo.

Can someone explain why the old "Y" logo is a registered symbol (®) but the new "the Y" is a trademark (™)?
posted by kittyprecious at 8:48 AM on July 13, 2010


Kittyprecious: Because the new mark has not been registered yet.
posted by The Bellman at 9:03 AM on July 13, 2010


All I know about Ys of any kind is the Historic Downtown Fort Worth YWCA is an awesome place for a wedding.

(And also, the rates for the Y gyms around here don't seem to be any cheaper than the other big chains.)
posted by kmz at 9:12 AM on July 13, 2010


Brought to you by the letter Y:
posted by karminai


I'm used to seeing the NYT's headlines here before they write them, but this time it's just more clever than theirs.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:16 AM on July 13, 2010


I think that this trend in marketing is really stupid. The Shack, The N.

At least they didn't succumb to iYMCA in the 90's.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:19 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Honestly there's only one opinion that matters on this subject:

“We are deeply dismayed by today's announcement from the YMCA that they feel a name change and a rebranding are in order after 166 years," the Village People said in a statement. "Some things remain iconic and while we admire the organization for the work they do, we still can’t help but wonder Y.”

In other news, the Village People still have the mechanisms to release a statement about something the day it happens.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:20 AM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


They'll do anything to get away from that Village People song.

I used to work at a YMCA camp. That song was banned. So, of course, we played it in our cabins all the time.
posted by QIbHom at 10:06 AM on July 13, 2010


YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE YOUNG
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A MAN
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE CHRISTIAN


YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE... associated?
posted by karminai at 10:37 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


But no mention of the massive benefit involved in removing the word 'christian' from a modern organisation?

Quite the opposite: The challenge, Mr. Disend said, is to continue to make consumers and donors aware of the history, tradition and meaning behind the letters. “It’s particularly a danger in the nonprofit space, where the story and awareness of the history and mission is critical when trying to raise money,” he said.

In other words, for financial reasons we need to try real hard to keep this from becoming as big a scandal as the "War on Christmas."
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:58 AM on July 13, 2010


A few months ago, National Public Radio sent a note to all its staff members asking everyone to refer to it as NPR.

I wondered about this when I heard Michele Norris say "This is NPR" and waited for her to finish up her sentence by saying "National Public Radio". She didn't and it felt abrupt and jarring because that's what I'm used to after all these years of listening to National Public Radio. At least now I know why.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 1:08 PM on July 13, 2010


YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE YOUNG
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A MAN
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE CHRISTIAN


I am enjoying singing each of these lines with "Young man" added at the beginning.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 1:13 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


What with it being a Christian men's organization, and one with change rooms at that, I always figured it was a kind of repressed gay men's hookup zone.

Repressed, shmepressed. The YMCA was right up there with the bathhouses. (What did you think the song was about? Swimming?) (Also, take a long, hard look at that logo.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:25 PM on July 13, 2010



Along the way, they invented basketball.

They also invented Volleyball (nee Mintonette) , just down the street from there.

This name change makes me happy, as I volunteer there and I'd rather volunteer at a secular organization. Of course, I doubt that it'll change anything about the way it is run. However, I wonder what free marketing they'll lose without the name recognition of the song which seems to be played at most major sporting events.

The inverse logo change is just bizarre.
posted by Four Flavors at 2:13 PM on July 13, 2010


Missing MCA found.


posted by zippy at 4:39 PM on July 13, 2010


Dining at The Y: Now more than a euphemism.
posted by klangklangston at 10:45 PM on July 13, 2010


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