CHICAGO (July 26) — In a rebranding move that stirred up its Christian faithful and simply confused everybody else, the YMCA has rolled out a new logo touting the organization as simply “the Y.”
Gone is the “MCA” that completed the full name of the Young Men’s Christian Association that had existed since its founding in 1844. The original charter of serving to develop a healthy spirit, mind and body remains, but the public relations experts who came up with the change hope to increase membership from a wider, more diverse community.
“We had narrowed ourselves into a pretty slender demographic,” said national spokesperson Tom Scribner. “There may be plenty of young, but only half of them are men, and then less than half of these are Christian. When we further require that they be a member of the 1960s soft-rock group The Association, we’ve just about eliminated everybody.”
“By just calling ourselves ‘the Y,’ we can accept almost anyone into our facilities,” Scribner said. “And if ‘Along Comes Mary,’ we’d be able to welcome her even if she were an old Jewish lady.”
Scribner described additional confusion that existed before the image update and name change. A competing group called the “SPCA” — believed to stand for the “Small Pets Christian Association” — was drawing off the existing membership of the Y, sometimes permanently.
“We had people who’d go to the SPCA for a workout and a schvitz in the steamroom, and they’d never be heard from again,” Scribner said. “Apparently, the SPCA workout consists of a 30-foot dog run where joggers are chained to a steel line, and their sauna uses fatal doses of carbon monoxide instead of steam. That’s not good.”
Scribner deflected criticism that came mostly from Southern branches of the organization, who complained that the move de-emphasized the Christian element. Also opposed to the change were roller rinks who feared they’d have to scrap one of their skaters’ favorite songs, “YMCA” by the Village People.
“We took the valuable input of these groups and considered it carefully,” Scribner said. “We told the National Roller Skating Association they could keep singing the song as it was written. But we had to be tougher on the Christians and make them promise never to mention or think about Jesus Christ while they’re in our facilities. Even if they drop a medicine ball on their foot, we’ll be requiring them to say something like ‘crap’ or ‘ouch’ instead of anything that invokes the name of the Lord.”
The shortening of corporate names to a catchy single letter has caught on among marketing experts looking to increase sales among young people. The United States of America, or as it was sometimes called “the U.S.A.,” recently requested fellow members of the United Nations to simply refer to it as “the U.” The Professional Society of Urologists, formerly the P.S.U., is now known as “the P.” A consulting firm brought in to update the image of the 101-year-old NAACP with a proposal to rename the civil rights organization “The N Word” had its suggestion rejected by the group’s membership.
Other firms that have tried this tactic have run into legal trouble with copyrights. The international jihadist terror organization known as al-Qaida was looking to transform itself into an edgy group that could draw young adventure-seekers into its ranks. The terrorists had already printed signage, T-shirts and promotional pens bearing the new name of “The Big Q,” when it was discovered that a radio station in Canton, Ohio, was already calling itself “The Big Q-96.” The station had won some preliminary legal battles but then was threatened with holy war, and decided to compromise by offering al-Qaida tickets in preferred seating for the upcoming Avenged Sevenfold concert featuring Five Finger Death Punch.