Wasn't there very small teases as to what the logo would be very early on, like the smile stencil being sprayed all across the park. Or did they do that nearer to when they released the official ride name to the public? (I hope I'm making sense
EDIT: Just seen Justin's post, clarifying my point!
They were all around the park during the construction period I remember there was one sprayed on the military vehicle theming outside of Sub-Terra. You may remember several campaigns that got into the tabloids notably sheep in a field somewhere(?) with The Smiler logo sprayed on them.
Essentially The Smiler marketing campaign was an effort by the marketing team to replicate that of Oblivion's during 1997/8 to achieve the same success. Creating a strong, suggestive and instantly recognisable logo and establish the colour waves. Hell, with Oblivion they even made it sexually suggestive by sending out condoms with the promotional packs! Oblivion became the model at the dawn of the internet age for the marketing of pretty much all of the subsequent large coaster investments at Alton Towers with the "Secret Weapon" code name being used for marketing rather than just as an internal reference like it was during the planning and construction of Nemesis. I doubt however it means much or anything to the majority of the visiting public (for those of you on here who haven't already seen 'The Magic Factory' or 'Marketing of a Theme Park' documentaries on YouTube they are a must watch).
The Smiler marketing campaign was commendable and highly successful in attracting the target market but really lacks the cool that Oblivion had 18 years ago. Back then the marketing company they employed (Cheetham Bell) really tapped into the edgy minimalist drug fuelled culture of the late 1990's with the rides stark paranoid advert, drum and bass soundtrack and exclusive merchandise Zippo lighters and deodorant ranges (which I think were even sold on the high street). The queue videos may look dated now but Renny Krupinski became a mini-star at the park for his portrayal of the 'lord of darkness' and they even used him for the parks summer spectacular stunt show in 1998 (you can forget ever seeing an events like that again with Merlin). In comparison The Smiler's cheap jokey shop merchandise, naff staff uniforms, broken queue effects and irritating "hahahaha" soundtrack is a very poor imitation but seems to be popular with today's visitors.
I personally feel the Secret Weapon 'codename' is stale and no longer signifies an investment as innovative as the unholy trio of Nemesis, Oblivion and Air and leads to hype amongst enthusiasts which will not be rewarded - especially after Thirteen. The ridiculous marketing of that ride pulled in the visitors for its opening season (3 million+) but failed to bring them back in subsequent years. Yet now the hype has died it has deservedly taken its place as a solid ride in the park's lineup. To expect anything more from SW8 than a solid family thrill ride with a marketing gimmick attached is setting yourself up for major disappointment in 2018. You all know Merlin's lazy marketing tricks by now. The ride plans show something the park really needs - a heavily themed and lighthearted family fun coaster to replace The Flume. Basically expect another Thirteen but made of wood - let's hope they can do something right for once and deliver this properly.