YMCA decides to contract its branding


We recently reported that National Public Radio has opted to stop using these actual words when self-referencing, paring down its identity to the familiar letters NPR. On the heels of that, the Young Men’s Christian Association, which is already widely known by its letter-only identity, is paring down even more.

The organization has noticed that over the years, people have referred to it simply as the Y. So that is what it is going to start doing, too.

In a release, it said the change was part of a general makeover, which includes a “…new, more forward-looking logo that reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the organization, and a framework that focuses resources on three core areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  In another major change, the nonprofit will be called “the Y” to align with how people most commonly refer to the organization.”

“This is a very important, exciting time for the Y,” said Neil Nicoll, president/CEO of YMCA of the USA. “For 160 years, we’ve focused on changing lives for the better.  Our commitment to building greater awareness for the important work we do will enable us to expand our efforts and further strengthen communities across the country.”

RBR-TVBR observation: While this decision no doubt makes sense for the organization, it could have tragic consequences for: The Village People. As song lyrics go, “Y (rest-rest-rest)” just doesn’t cut it.

As it turns out, after we posted this observation, the Village People issued their own comment on the matter. Here’s what they told RBR/TVBR: “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. Some things remain iconic and while we admire the organization for the work they do, we still can’t help but wonder Y.” They said they will continue to perform the song, using all four iconic letters.