And sometimes it’s not too hard to decipher the code at all

As you may have heard, SciFi have recently taken the decision to rebrand as SyFy.


Well, the word SciFi (or scifi, or sci-fi) has been around since Forry Ackerman invented it in the 50s.

(Most serious SF buffs don’t like the term, considering it a bit gee-whizz, and prefer, well, SF instead.)

And as SciFi is a word in common use, that means you can’t trademark it. No brand extensions, no protectable spinoffs.

So they decided to rebrand, and this rebrand has the benefit of sounding exactly the same. Fair enough. It also has the advantage of moving away from the pure-geek connotations of SciFi among the general public.

I can’t say I have any particular feelings about it one way or the other.

But the interesting thing is this blog post from Landor, the branding agency who consulted with SciFi… er SyFy on the rebrand.

Now they don’t actually say the words “We begged them on our knees not to do it” anywhere in the article, but nevertheless it’s instructive to read.

The last paragraph is the meat of the matter:

“Yes, we worked with the Sci Fi Channel, and it hired us to consult on the project. However, Syfy was a name generated internally and pre-tested at the channel before our involvement. Once Landor was involved, we explored new names as part of the process, but it was the Channel’s call to go with Syfy.”

Note the specificity of the wording.

Generated internally.
Pre-tested at the channel before our involvement.
We explored new names.
It was the channel’s call to go with SyFy.

I’d love to have a look at Landor’s internal documents on the testing of this.

Because you don’t put this on a public-facing blog – even in code – unless you really want to move away from being associated with this rebrand, and fast.

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