So I see that The SciFi Channel is being renamed SyFy with the tagline "Imagine Greater".
Seriously. I'm not kidding. Here's the new site, complete with press release: http://www.syfy.com
From what I can see, this is mostly about their wanting a unique brand identity instead of a name built around a descriptor that they can't control. But since they didn't want to do anything daring like actually come up with a new name, they just changed the spelling. Brilliant, huh? Then they added a tagline which sounds like it was created by some guys who want to sound like the Think Different campaign but have no real understanding of why it works.
“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.”
This article covers the issues pretty well: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/business/media/16adcol.html
Here are some other responses:
Evidently they're anxious to dissociate themselves from those of us who actually care about fiction that takes seriously things like, ya know, actual science.
So, if they're going to call it "SyFy" I say let's pronounce it "siffy". They want to change their perception in the marketplace away from icky things like actual science. I say that we should help them with that distancing process.
I intend to go around making excuses to say the phrase "siffy - the syphilis channel" in a fake, perky, marketer-speak voice. My friend Kate Gowers has already picked up the ball and has added her own nefarious touch - spelling it "syffy". It's amazing how adding one more F makes the appropriate pronunciation clear. I intend to start doing the same.
Of course, to an old comics geek like me, that pronunciation also evokes the "hsiffys" of early Cerebus, adding all the "now I need to wash" associations of Dave Sim plus bonus ones of anti-intellectualism, racism, jingoism, and media manipulation.
Sounds about right to me.
Not to mention that syphilis is all about decreased brain function, loss of reasoning skills and judgement, becoming more prone to fits of violence and leering, crude sexuality. All of which just happen to describe pretty accurately recent trends of the channel in question.
Let's just all keep saying the phrase at every opportunity. See if we can get it to propagate. I'm talking to all of you science fiction fans, comics geeks, and other current or likely future members of their demographic. Let's see what we can do to make the association reflexive so seeing the logo causes the phrase to instantly, automatically pop up in everybody's mind.
"siffy - the syphilis channel".