And the geek shall inherit the Earth...
In a move that some may call bold, but I like to think of as stupid personified, one of my 5-a-day providers has decided to rebrand its channel. Now, I know this isn’t a new or innovative move that will leave all their peers weeping in the trail of dust they have left behind, but it just might make them laugh until a little bit of wee comes out.
That top English bloke, Shakespeare, once wrote:
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
(Well, technically, this isn’t true as each variety has its own unique smell, or there’d be no point in having so many, but let’s just ignore this for the time being, yes?)
You’d think so, but I bet you wouldn’t choose to stick your nose in one called ‘poo’ would you, Romeo? And this is how I feel about Sci-Fi’s re-branding.
There are many ways to appeal to your audience and change to reflect a shift in your programming, but Sci-Fi? You’re doing it wrong. Re-branding very rarely works – I still call Opal Fruits that because Starburst is a dirty word, goddammit. See how Coco Pops suffered such a huge backlash they had to change back?
You think the current name doesn’t accurately represent the programming schedule? That’s cool.
Why not think of creating sub-sites, or a few catch-all addresses that link back to your original – and arguably best – site. And I think I must have missed a new trend amongst the kids of today, but surely – even phonetically – SyFy still sounds the bloody same… how is that going to alert people to all the wrestling/cop shows/so boring they make my eyes bleed paranormal shows that you have now branched into?
This quote possibly sums up the entire debacle for me: “If I were texting, this is how I would spell it.”
Really, Mr Sci-Fi exec? Seriously? If you were texting – that’s where you press the keys to form words to send what those young folk call SMS or text messages – you probably wouldn’t since, y’know, that’s not the name of your channel!
Now, I don’t know whether my fingers are rebellious, but I always type it Sci-Fi, be it in email or text or, if everything has broken, morse code, carrier pigeon and even writing (yes, people still do that). After all, it’s only one character more and doesn’t make me look like I suddenly lost my ability to recall simple words and phrases.
It all boils down to ownership, doesn’t it? You can’t trademark a genre, so you have to hire some Harvard grad fresh out of school who wouldn’t know his phasers from his photon torpedoes to try and be “down with the homies” and update the site to suit the generation who don’t realise words are not alpha-numeric as a rule…
I still find it hard to comprehend that audience loyalty never features in these conversations. But then, I’ve never been a big fan of golf so I very rarely venture into clubhouses after a couple of rounds with Jeff, who heard about this new ‘wicked cool’ trend from his spoilt, snotty-nosed daughter, and would like to do something similar.
This comment was probably made about Bratz or some other, vile money-making machine, but that doesn’t matter – what Jeff wants, Jeff gets. No matter how ridiculous it’ll make everyone else look. As long as Jeff’s happy…
Here is something that may help you, Sci-Fi. Your audience? Is mostly old geeks who like things as they are, thankyouverymuch. Changing your name isn’t going to make us like you more, it’s going to make us grumpy.
And grumpy Sci-Fi fans, as we all know, can be pretty darn active when it comes to protests and re-commissioning shows and holding ‘petty boycotts’ just because we can.
You’ve already been partly responsible for the demise of good Sci-Fi for us old, decrepit mid-twenty somethings; name me one new show that doesn’t feature a cast of mostly under 25’s that guys will find hot, with plots so full of holes they put Swiss cheese to shame. And don’t think I’ve forgotten that you’ve taken away my secret vice, Stargate, and are replacing it with a 90210 version that is, quite frankly, terrifying in its pandering to the MTV generation.
You’ve taken away so much. Please don’t take away our vowels, too.