Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Renaming Your Network

Before Harry Potter yesterday Cartoon Network had a music video announcing that "The cartoon Network is not just cartoons anymore."  Which seemed a little weird.  You know, with the "Cartoon Network" name and all.   Apparently the network, which is now referring to itself also as "CN", is branching into reality TV shows, including, according to Entertainment Weekly, "Survive This, in which teens compete in tests of 'endurance, wit and self-determination;'" Head Rush, a game show set on a rollercoaster;  and  My Dad's a Pro, a reality show starring Boston Celtic Eddie House and his son Jaelen.   

This reminded me of the SciFi Network, which changed its name to "SyFy" two weeks ago, apparently so as to de-nerdify (and de-male) its image.  Which seems a little weird.  You know, what with it being a network dedicated to science fiction, and one that is not changing its programming at all.  

And so loathe were they to connect this new network with anything that could be considered nerd-like, none of the print or TV ads I've seen actually explain that SyFy is Sci Fi.  Check out this 15 second clip: 


What is this an ad for? I almost want to say for some sort of anti-depressant.  Except those ads would be more interesting.  

A longer ad, which I'll put below, shows a very trippy party with all sorts of interesting visuals, and lots and lots of women.  This ain't your can't-get-a-date and always-in-his-room-with-the-door-closed brother's Sci Fi; this is SyFy metro, it's classy dinosaurs and cocktail party dresses, it's chandeliers made out of lightning bugs and Escher house parties; it's leather-clad hunks and live action origami! (Huh?)  There's not a spaceship or a nerdy set of glasses to be seen.   

The question is, do moves like this work?  I'm sure marketing test groups are saying they will. But SyFy sounds -- well, so fey.  And will I ever go to the Cartoon Network looking for something other than cartoons?  Maybe.  Certainly people look to MTV for pretty much anything but music videos at this point. 

The whole project, though, makes me wonder if there are other networks that could use a "rebranding", as they call it.  Tomorrow: some suggestions of networks that could use a little sprucing up, and some possible names. 

For now, here's that longer SyFy ad:





1 comment:

Annie said...

Of course, the real (cynical) reason for renaming SciFi to SyFy is that they can trademark SyFy, but were unable to obtain a trademark on SciFi...