Syfy Preps Second ‘House of Imagination’ Effort

Nearly a year to the day after jettisoning the old Sci Fi Channel brand, NBC Universal’s Syfy is celebrating the anniversary of its relaunch with a second series of “House of Imagination” promos.

On Tuesday, July 6, Syfy will bow a 60-second “House of Imagination” spot immediately prior to the 9 p.m. EDT season-two premiere of Warehouse 13. In keeping with last year’s original effort, the promo features a group of camera-friendly young people passing through the metaphorical looking glass and into a fanciful party environment.

As the principals make their way past tiger-striped tiger sharks and waltzing Lego figurines, characters from the upcoming series Haven are spied navigating through a topiary maze. As the camera pans away, the shrubbery is revealed to be sculpted in the shape of a fingerprint whorl.

Also making appearances in the dreamlike spot are the cast of Stargate Universe and Warehouse 13. A number of SmackDown superstars representing the Tuesday night wrestling program WWE NXT are also featured in the promo.

The first “House of Imagination” effort bowed on July 7, 2009, coinciding with the network’s official transition to its Syfy nameplate. The 120-second spot last week received 14 Promax/BDA Awards, and was honored as the No. 1 promo of the year by the Special Awards Committee.
As was the case with the initial “House of Imagination” spot, the new clip was directed and produced by Brett Foraker for 4creative, UK Channel 4’s creative resource.
A 90-second version of the new spot will air on Syfy this week. Along with tonight’s return of Warehouse 13, the network brings back Eureka for its season-four premiere on Friday, July 9, followed by the series debut of Haven. Based on the 2005 Stephen King novella The Colorado Kid, Haven stars Emily Rose as an FBI agent whose search for an escaped prisoner leads her to a mysterious Maine township.
While fanboys predictably carped over last year’s switcheroo, online grumblings did not lead to a mass defection of Syfy viewers. In fact, the network saw prime time deliveries increase 1 percent in Q3 2009, with an average nightly audience of 1.36 million total viewers. The following quarter was even more successful, as total viewers were up 4 percent to 1.4 million and adults 18-49 grew 10 percent versus the prior-year period, to 699,000.
“I feel that our strategy was a sound one from the very beginning,” said Michael Engleman, svp, marketing, global brand strategy and creative, Syfy. “Even when we were criticized for the name change, once we started giving them great original content, that criticism abated.”

Warehouse 13 played a key role in drawing new viewers to Syfy. Bowing the evening of the re-launch, the show attracted 3.5 million total viewers before going on to add another 500,000 time-shifted views. For the season, Warehouse 13 was ad-supported cable’s third most-watched new series of the summer, averaging 3.8 million viewers, of whom 1.56 million were members of the 18-49 demo and 1.96 million were adults 25-54.

The new clip was shot in Los Angeles over a period of four days. The backing track is “Lisztomania,” a breezy pop song from French indie band Phoenix.

“We chose the Phoenix song because it’s current and relevant and just feels fun,” said Engleman. “It’s an ebullient and warm track that really gives you a lift.”

Download the spot here.