The Sci Fi cable channel made the news last week by announcing it would change its name on July 7 to Syfy, an obscure new brand that outraged some Star Trek enthusiasts. We found it no coincidence that the cable network timed the news to the upfront, where advertisers make major financial commitments for the coming year.
What’s up? Women are resurgent as an advertising force. Consider that women’s web sites were one of the fastest growing categories in 2008, with 46% more visitors (only slightly behind job-search sites). Slate.com is spinning off its popular XX Factor blog into a woman-specific site. Kristi Faulkner, founder of the WomenKind marcom firm, told DM News “Women are hungry for something that is respectful and dignified.”
And of course it helps that advertising dollars are behind this. In a down economy where men are paring back on big screen TVs and lawn equipment, women still run the household — and most other spending. In the United States women account for 80% of discretionary spending including buying 90% of food, 55% of gadgets, and — yes, boys — most new cars.
Sci Fi is broadening its brand to include supernatural and paranormal entertainment, topics more likely to appeal to women and to attract the marketers who chase them. There could be a lesson here for your own brand.