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Syfy Brings a Bit of Darkness to L.A.

Syfy networks will be inviting Los Angeles shoppers to have
some scary fun in the dark to promote the return of its series Total Blackout.

The stunt helps kick off a busy first quarter for the network,
which features new dramas as part of its Powerful Monday franchise, new seasons
for its Tuesday reality shows and  Wednesday
paranormal series. The spring is capped with the launch of Defiance, Syfy's TV/video game hybrid.

Hosted by Jaleel White, Total
was Syfy's highest-rated new show last year. To give consumers a
taste of what it's about, as the second half of its second season premieres Jan.
15, the show's production company is setting up a portable version of the show
at The Grove for three days next week.

"If you're walking around The Grove and you want to
experience Total Blackout, you'll get
to watch people step into a pitch black environment and encounter what could be
a very silly or very scary object," says Michael Engleman, executive VP, marketing
and global brand strategy. "A lot of time people are more terrified of a teddy
bear than they are of some really terrifying creepy crawly type of thing."

Video of people encountering total blackout will be shown at
The Grove and posted on a branded YouTube channel.

"If money were no object, I'd do this is every market,
Engleman says.

A few months ago, Syfy invited media buyers and clients to a
party where they could meet White and experience Total Blackout, or watch their colleagues struggling in the
darkness via closed-circuit TV. Engleman says that even the event staff working
on the event were fascinated by seeing this thing live and wanted to see the

The combination of show's thrill-ride aspect with the humor
from watching people being teased by their own imaginations in the dark helped
create the show's appeal. It's also made clips from the show eminently viral,
aiding its digital promotion, Engleman says.

Promotion of Total
also includes traditional media -- TV, radio and print, plus a
focus on search and social media. The network has also formed a partnership
with Buzzfeed, which is running a series of top 10 lists, such as a list of top
phobias, reasons to freak out in the dark and wildest reality show moments.