Landor Dumbs Down SciFi
Wow. It's hard to tell where to begin to describe just how clueless this effort is. But what the heck. I'll give it a shot.
Clearly, the entire project was commissioned, planned and executed by teams who had no idea of what appeals to science fiction fans - or how to drive a corporate brand into the hearts and minds of its target audience. According to the New York Times:
“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.”
Here's a newsflash: Who would want to own SyFy? You want it? It's yours, lady. Take it. Because nobody, and I mean nobody, wants a dumbed-down, stupid play on a phrase-of-the-week that's doomed to irrelevance when the term "wi-fi" expires. And that includes current SciFi viewers who are vocally expressing their displeasure at this latest exercise in fan condescension. Fans - or should I say ex-fans of the channel are rightly angry at the brand for surrendering the very "geek" qualities that originally attracted them to their favorite mode of entertainment.
Another benefit of the new name is that it is not “throwing the baby away with the bath water,” she added, because it is similar enough to the Sci Fi brand to convey continuity to “the fan-boys and -girls who love the genre.”
Ms. Hammer and her successor as Sci Fi president, Dave Howe, said they had sat through many meetings over the years at which a name change was debated. The principal reason the idea kept coming up, Mr. Howe said, was a belief “the Sci Fi name is limiting.”
Did you read that last paragraph? They actually had many meetings over the years to come up with this? What's next, a musical Hannah Montana version of Close Encounters?
Take a look at some of the other logos that appealed to SciFi viewers over the years and you'll find that all of them are driven by core attributes of the science fiction aficionado: intelligence, curiosity, imagination and more than a touch of prideful geekdom. See, what Hammer doesn't get is that sci-fi fans actually dig being geeky. They get as much of a rush from being geeky as she might from, say, a new Prada purse.
Landor, the hack agency that created the name and logo, has once again proven its ineptitude, by charging big bucks for a logo that was probably the result of a junior designer spending an hour or two rendering a 3D line of text in Carrara Pro, completely draining the mark of any values to which sci-fi fans could relate. What you've got there, friends, is a soccer mom's version of what the people at Landor think science fiction ought to be.
If science fiction logos were cars, this one would be a mini-van. Yuck.
To be fair, this isn't all Landor's fault. Much of the blame should be placed at the feet of SciFi's corporate managers, who obviously have no concept of what branding is or does. The big clue is that the spokesmen for corporate are all based out of the channels sales department. Which, I suppose, is fitting. After all, they're the ones who are going to be feeling the pinch the hardest.