Landor Distancing Self from Syfy Naming Credit?

Update 3/30/09 8:45 AM:  Blogtalkradio has landed an interview with former SyFy Radio host and SyFy Portal founder Michael Hinman (whose brand name was purchased from Sci Fi- and thus creating even more confusion on true origins of the new SyFy moniker). The interview also includes a chat with Mitchell Rubenstein, one of the founders of Sci Fi Channel.

Update 3/28/09: Dave Howe Responds Further, mentions tracking Twitter for Syfy feedback.

Confirming some internal chatter from some of my colleagues at Landor-

In a blog posting from Executive Director Ken Runkel, it looks like the Syfy naming controversy has taken an unexpected turn. Global Branding Agency Landor adds a twist to the latest by explaining in their blog that they are NOT behind the new name. Unconfirmed sources say that the credit (internally at least) has been given to Michael Engleman, VP Creative with developing the name. He was previously VP at CMT overseeing rebranding efforts at the network. The channel names “SFC” and “Beyond” were also considered and tested.

Here’s the screenshot of the Landor blog entry:

Interestingly, it’s been reported that NBC-U appears to have registered “” on January 30, via Corporation Services Company— which also holds new registration for

And for mobile phone readers, here’s the text:

“While we’d love to take credit for all the branding initiatives our clients take on, sometimes we just can’t. This is the case with the recent launch of Syfy, the new name for our client, the Sci Fi Channel.

As reported in last week’s New York Times, the Sci Fi Channel, a division of NBC Universal, introduced its new name and identity, Syfy, at upfront presentations in New York. The announcement got a lot of attention, and although the New York Times story seemingly gave Landor credit for the work—we can’t take it—because we didn’t do it.

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.”



Filed under branding, channel identity, industry news

6 responses to “Landor Distancing Self from Syfy Naming Credit?

  1. Craig Testler

    Whoa. Crazy stuff. Are they really denying being responsible for the name? Wonder how this is coming off to SyFy?

  2. M Summers

    Glad you posted the screenie. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if we saw Landor’s blog posting mysteriously disappear.

  3. dennytu

    So apparently, the massive spike in traffic and editing from the recent Syfy posts have essentially broken the internet. Well not really the internet, just my ability to fix and update new work. Don’t worry, a fix is on the way. Thanks for bearing with the temporary interruption in the flight plan.

  4. dunkley08

    I like the name syfy. Whats wrong with it!

  5. What’s wrong with it?

    Let’s see.

    1. In their own words, they’ve “Changed the name of the network without actually changing the name.” It’s still Sci Fi, only they spelled it out Syfy. Now, if they really didn’t want to change the name, then why did they change it?

    2. Though they tried to cover their own tails by denying they said anything to the contrary, Sci Fi seems to be shying away from science-fiction fandom in general making their network more marketable to folks who think sci-fi is just space stories.

    3. The word “syfy” is Polish, translating roughly to “crap,” as in the expression “Co to za syfy?” which means “What is this crap?” Ironically, when people heard about the name change a couple of weeks ago, a lot of them basically said the same thing.

    4. In texting, the acronym SYFY is a derogatory term meaning “Screw you, ‘f’ you.” Ironically, that’s how a lot of people took the new name as the network’s way of telling them off.

    That’s what’s wrong with it.

  6. At the end of the day, all thats been released is the name and logo. We haven’t seen the idents, graphics etc yet so why judge a book by its name?

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