'Igniters' Fire Up SyfyNew research highlights influential viewers for ad buyers 1/16/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern
The Consumer Electronics Show might seem like an unusual place for a television
network to launch a campaign aimed at
convincing media buyers that its viewers are hotshots.
That is, unless you're Syfy and you've been invited
to speak to a gathering of media agency ViviKi's 475
staffers and clients in Las Vegas for CES.
Well beyond the upfronts in the spring, Syfy president
David Howe says Syfy plans to spend the next
three years talking about "Igniters," viewers who, according
to the channel's new research, "find the new,"
"do the next" and "show the rest." These plugged-in
consumers can accelerate the growth of brands, and
Syfy has more of these trend-setters than any other
television network, says Howe, who insists that's fact,
and not fiction—science or otherwise.
"These people are absolutely harnessing their digital
finesse to really get the message out and tell other
people what's new and what's next, what to buy, what
to wear, where to shop, what to eat. And that is a very
exciting proposition for an advertiser," Howe says.
Much of the research was conducted by PSFK, a
research firm that has worked with Apple and BMW,
with data from Simmons, the consumer research firm,
which has spotted ways Syfy and its clients can exploit
how these Igniters spread the word about things they
are interested in. "There are a number of brands out
there that are doing innovative things to engage this
audience and speak their language," says Jeff Weiner,
director of business development at PSFK. "These individuals
are not content just to have products and
services developed for them. They actually want to
participate in the process."
Howe says Syfy will be presenting its research to
major advertisers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago,
Detroit and Boston. There
will also be a major advertising
effort, including a trade
campaign using outdoor
ads and key publications,
promotions within media
agencies and a Website,
aiming to get some real
noise and buzz about this
and kind of set the record
straight in terms of how
valuable the Syfy consumer
is," Howe says.
Historically, there has been
a perception that science fiction
fans are nerdy young
men living in their mother's
basement. "That's always
been a fallacy," says Howe,
noting that people who
identify themselves as
imaginative and creative
comprise a large group.
And while many networks
also say their audiences
have money and
Syfy an NBCUniversal
network, calls its viewers
says "our audience has
even more power in
terms of being able to
harness technology to spread the word."
Syfy wants these Igniters to boost its business. They
watch Syfy shows across the board, particularly Face Off
and Being Human, and the network will surely keep
them in mind as it adds 10 new reality series. The
network will also reinforce its Igniter story at its upfront
Last year, Syfy invited clients to a special performance
of Spider-Man on Broadway. This year, Howe says, "We
will have something visually that's a wow onstage."
But ViviKi, which includes Starcom and MediaVest,
got the first look at the research last week. The theme
of finding what's new and telling people seemed a
good fit for a CES meeting, according to Tracey
Scheppach, director of innovations at ViviKi. She is
sure Syfy relished the chance to tell its top executives
and clients about the Igniters in its viewership. "As we
start to look at more addressable advertising, brand
advertisers are going to want to surround themselves
with viewers that are Igniters," she says.
Scheppach identifies herself as SMG's "chief igniter
officer." She adds: "And yes, I do watch Syfy. I do
watch a little Jersey Shore too, I have to admit."