Have you heard the news yet that the Sci Fi Channel is going to change its name to Syfy? I realize we live in the world of nonsensical name branding like Google and Zune and Wii, but “Syfy” is just the word “sci fi” still pronounced as “sci fi” only now spelled like it was written by a preschooler. Genius!
The Sci Fi Channel has been talking of rebranding its name to something that still captures the spirit of the network while opening up room to no longer be thought of as merely a sci fi channel. The name that had been leaked out as a potential replacement for Sci Fi Channel was “Beyond” — kind of dopey but understandable and no worse sounding than Spike TV, Ion, or Oxygen. Yesterday the Sci Fi Channel announced that starting July 7th, 2009, they will be known as … Syfy?
Syfy. That… That is… That is fucking retarded is what that is!
You can read the full bullshit explanation behind this ludicrous name change in a New York Times article. Allow me to reprint for you what I consider to be the money quotes:
“We couldn’t own Sci Fi; it’s a genre,” said Bonnie Hammer, the former president of Sci Fi who became the president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions, “but we can own Syfy.”
Oh, you’re going to own it alright. All the angry science fiction buffs who’ve been railing for ages that the Sci Fi Channel has been sullying their genre can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the network will instead be sullying a whole new subgenre of science fiction forever known as “syfy”.
“The principal reason the idea kept coming up, Mr. [David] Howe said, was a belief ‘the Sci Fi name is limiting.’”
Yeah, it must suck running a network called the Sci Fi Channel and always having to deal with expectations of broadcasting science fiction related programming. Imagine how stir-crazy the executives running the Golf Channel must feel every day.
“The Syfy and syfy.com names were developed by an internal team at Sci Fi along with Landor Associates, a corporate and brand identity consultancy that is part of WPP. Its brevity echoes the one-word names of other NBC Universal cable channels like Bravo, Chiller, Oxygen ,and Sleuth, not to mention channels owned by other companies including Flix, Fuse, Logo, Starz, and Versus.”
All of which are real words or reasonable abbreviations. Syfy is a word that looks like it should be the name of one of McDonald’s Fry Guys, and when you say it aloud, it still sounds like “sci fi”, which means people are still going to assume the channel to be programmers of that pesky horizon-limiting science fiction genre.
“The testing we’ve done has been incredibly positive,” Mr. Howe said of the Syfy name, reading what he described as a comment from one participant: “If I were texting, this is how I would spell it.”
So “sci fi” is too limiting a word from content, viewer, and advertising standpoints, but the same damn word spelled out the way an illiterate text messaging teen would spell it is considered hip and fresh and guaranteed to expand the channel’s viewership? People who get paid considerably more money than you and I spent months coming up with this. Always keep that in mind.
Syfy: that “Imagine Greater” tagline needs to be changed to “Epic Fail”.
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