In perhaps the most ill-advised branding move since New Coke, NBC's basic-cable Sci Fi Channel will be renamed the phonetically similar Syfy on July 7.
The change reportedly comes from a desire to own a trademark on the network's name. The term sci-fi is a generic description of a fiction genre (often featuring futuristic technology), while Syfy can be a unique brand.
Bonnie Hammer, president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, told The New York Times, "We couldn't own Sci Fi; it's a genre...but we can own Syfy."
The derisive hoots have already begun. Entertainment industry columnist Nikki Finke points out, "Adding to the idiocy is that there's already a company called SyFi Global, an information technology (specialist)." Meanwhile, Gawker says the network's new tagline, Imagine Greater, "means nothing and is grammatically incoherent."