In what’s perhaps the oddest bit of branding since the Gilette Fusion: Gamer razor, the Sci-Fi channel rebranded itself as Syfy yesterday.
I say odd in a very selective manner. I don’t mean to say it’s bad. Nether do I mean to say it’s an ill-concieved move.
The spelling is just goofy as hell.
Not to say that in itself is bad. It’s been in fashion for years now, especially in the era of the internet domain names (flickr anyone?) to blatantly misspell a word so that one may trademark it. Which is largely what this boiled down to- a trademark issue. Sci-Fi is a genre. It’s a generic term invalid for trademarking. What’s the next best thing? Misspell the fukk out of it.
I’m a design student by trade, so I’m a little more attuned to branding than the average bear. This doesn’t bother me at all, but then, Sci-Fi Channel and I haven’t always gotten along.
What this spells more, to me, is a sea change behind the scenes at the company. It started with things like them broadcasting professional wrestling and turning Starbuck into a woman, moving into things like this. Sci-Fi used to regularly count itself among the most watched cable networks, and likely will continue to do so after this rebranding. What these guys are after, I think, is mainstream recognition. Just like most other geek hobbies or interests, heavy sci-fi is usually derided as ‘nerd fodder’ or the like. While I’d argue we’re a nation of geeks already, sometimes softening the blow will still let you get a hit out.
In an interview with Wired.com, Craig Engler, (senior vice president and general manager of Sci Fi Digital) said of the new name, “It’s a brand that catches up with our programming… “It is our stake in the ground. Last year was tremendous for us, with Battlestar Galactica getting recognition as one of the best dramas on television.”
I’ll buy it. Where else am I gonna watch the 70′s Incredible Hulk reruns?