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Syfy Marketing Campaign At Comic-Con Meets With Mixed Results

T-shirts bomb, but new name shows up everywhere


San Diego Comic-Con was a great arena for NBC Universal to officially and fully launch its new Syfy brand. And while thousands of visitors were seen toting around bags that called Syfy “a four-letter word you can swear by,” some other efforts to gain excitement over the name seemed to fall a little short.

One campaign was to get fans to wear Syfy T-shirts to Comic-Con on Saturday. For those who bought VIP tickets to Bear McCreary’s Thursday night concert of the Battlestar Galactica Orchestra at the San Diego House of Blues were given swag bags that had everything a fan needed to participate in the Saturday campaign.

The drawback? It wasn’t a pre-printed Syfy T-shirt. It was a blank white shirt with an iron-on patch of the logo.

Suffice it to say that the five reporters that were covering, only one person was seen wearing the shirt. It was a parking attendant in a parking garage in San Diego’s Gaslamp District outside the convention center, and it was obvious that the iron-on lettering was already falling off.

The Syfy name was everywhere, however. Street walkers had large hot-air balloons that helped direct fans to the brand. A restaurant was renamed Cafe Diem with a large Syfy logo on the front window. And Saturday’s party held jointly with Entertainment Weekly had the Syfy name plastered everywhere.

But not everyone making appearances at panels supported it. Sunday afternoon, former “Will & Grace” and “Free Enterprise” star Eric McCormack openly questioned the renaming, expressing his dislike for it, and telling the audience that he wanted to pronounce it “see-fee.” Some fans were spotted with homemade T-shirts that expressed their opinion that the name “sucks.”

Even Craig Engler, who Tweets for Syfy and is part of the network’s digital department, quoted one fan toward the end of the convention who said Syfy was a “tiny step in the ongoing revolution to remake our entire world in the name of consumerism.”

Engler, however, has pushed for support of the name, and has even had some fun with the rebranding. At one point, his iPhone corrected “furling” to “furlong” during the “Stargate: Universe” panel. Engler corrected himself on Twitter and said, “No, we didn’t rebrand the Furlings too!”

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