Lifestyle Business

Why is #ALDUB contagious?

LEADING PEOPLE AT WORK - Boris Joaquin - Philstar.com

After the Tamang Panahon concert in the world’s largest indoor arena sold out 55,000 tickets in less than three days, and a Twitter record of 41 million tweets with #AldubEBTamangPanahon in one day, the unassuming loveteam of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza (popularly known as her character Yaya Dub) is undeniably the latest word-of-mouth buzz nowadays catching global attention in both the mainstream and social media.

Photo Taken by Carlo Ople, Digital Consultant for TAPE Inc. during the Tamang Panahon concert in Philippine Arena 

British Broadcasting Company referred to the love team as a ‘social media phenomenon,’ while Bloomberg, an international business news platform, discussed how the noontime show, Eat Bulaga and 'AlDub' becoming a gold mine for anyone associated with it. Richards and Mendoza already starred in different commercials for a wide variety of brands, such as a soda brand, a fast food meal, a telecommunications company, adult milk brand, cellphone brand, and many others. Golden Arches, the company that carries the McDonalds franchise here in the Philippines through their Vice President for Marketing Communications already declared that just after 3 weeks, the AlDub campaign positively impacted their business nationwide and with sales that well exceeded their target.

So why is this Kalye Serye series, where the Aldub love team started, on Eat Bulaga continue to draw massive attention not only throughout the nation, but throughout the globe as well? In just a span of over 3 months, this love tandem and story format is so contagious that it has already accumulated a massive fan base ranking very close to global superstars like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.

Photo Taken by Carlo Ople, Digital Consultant for TAPE Inc. during the Tamang Panahon concert in Philippine Arena 

The answer: They have a strong support system built by fans -- everyone who is entertained by the show and has been charmed by the accidental love team of Richards and Mendoza are bending ears tirelessly to share and support the growth of Aldub.

I recently immersed myself in the Aldub Nation (what the fans of Aldub are popularly known maybe due to sheer size) via Twitter through the help of one of my friend, who served as the Aldub Ambassador (@IamWholeHearted) just to validate the principles we recently learned from the Brand Boot Camp™ on why things catch on.

The author with best-selling author of the book Contagious, Jonah Berger during the 2015 Brand Boot Camp at SMX Aura, Taguig

Contagious products and ideas, and in this case a love team, according to best selling author and Wharton Business School Professor Jonah Berger, are like forest fires. They can't happen without hundreds, if not thousands, of regular Joes and Janes passing the product or message along. So why did thousands (if not millions) of people transmit anything that has to do with Aldub and its show?

It is pretty much the same from Korean pop star Psy’s wacky horse-dance video, “Gangnam Style”-- sticky ideas, messages or products that tend to be simple, unexpected and credible, with concrete details, an emotional undertow and a memorable story line will go viral. Jonah, for his part, asserts that six principles help make things go viral: social currency (making people feel that they are cool insiders); triggers (everyday reminders of an item or idea); emotional resonance (making people want to share the experience with friends); observability (that is, a highly visible item advertises itself); usefulness (people like to share practical or helpful information); and storytelling (embedding a product or an idea in a narrative enhances its power).

Let me share with you the steps on why perhaps Aldub is contagious based on Jonah Berger’s STEPS for making anything go viral:

Social Currency: The show’s format is a novelty. The Kalye Serye or the segment of the show already has a following but the creation of the love team is purely accidental and totally unplanned but that’s where the genius is. Eat Bulaga’s creative team and perhaps with the influences of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey De Leon know exactly when something is worth pursuing. And what makes this a perfect social currency is that the fans are involved in creating Aldub. There became stakeholders of the love team. When I started getting myself immerse among the fans in the Twitter-verse, I am utterly blown away on how organized and equipped they are in supporting the show and the love team. Coordination across the world is efficient and the level of ownership is high. And here’s where perfect timing comes in, the people behind the show knows how to read an audience’s pulse, ride the wave, and make it shine even brighter.

Triggers: Easily memorable information means it's top of mind and tip of the tongue. At a time when noontime variety shows hit a stalemate, this innovation is a welcome treat. Count on Eat Bulaga’s creative team to come up with fresh ideas consistently. Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, and Paolo Ballesteros, the funny trio known as JoWaPao, are effective mouthpieces for what could be tomorrow’s topic of the day. More than being great improvisation actors, this trio plays the various characters that spin the Kalye Serye – from Manalo’s Frankie Arinolli to Bayola’s Lola Nidora and Rihanna -- delivering lines on the button. But more than having great comedic timing, perhaps polished by constant interaction with each other through the years, their gift of gab is what keeping the audience glued.

Emotion: When we care, we share. Overall, Richards and Mendoza’s chemistry is the essential ingredient to AlDub’s success. If there’s one thing that gets fans excited about AlDub, it’s the sincere giddiness or “kilig” that the two give off every time they come face to face with each other – whether on split screens or in person. Fans and people I actually know say that they can feel the tickled or thrilled tension whenever they are watching. Admittedly, it got to me too. Apparently, Mendoza revealed that she had a long time crush on Richards. The fact that there was some truth to the “crush”, at least from Mendoza’s side, made it more exciting. Something that, most fans say, can’t possibly be scripted. This adds hope to what the fans see as the duo’s budding romance. Fans grew by the number when the interaction started getting comfortable with their daily exchanges of written messages, love song dubsmashes via split screens. Plus the fact that a lot of long-distance-relationships exist due to the number of overseas Filipino workers, many can relate to the split screens interactions. The sincerity plus the apparent connection compelled fans to simply share the feeling and experience to other people.

Practical Value:  Where the people can use and share knowledge or wisdom.The conservative character of the series, Lola Nidora, would once in a while, insert words of wisdom, especially about waiting for true love and proper conduct.That’s why even the Catholic media is all praises for the show’s emphasis on spreading morality, virtue and good values. What made this appealing not just to Gen Y and Z viewers but even to Gen X and Baby Boomers is its seeming revival of cherished Filipino traditions on courtship and chivalry.

Personally, I like the effort to build libraries to various public schools across the nation. The producers managed to raise P14M from their recent charity concert where 100% of the ticket sales went to this endeavor. I think if they turn the Aldub fan’s attention towards greater national issues – it will definitely influence changes in our society, i.e., for every youngster to go and register as voters. I was particularly impressed with how they managed 55,000 plus people to be prepared and orderly by injecting those practical reminders in their daily shows. But I also came to understand that this is what light entertainment is all about. My suggestion could ruin the entire idea of building this fairy tale world for others to live in, at least for two hours and a half.

Stories: People are inherent storytellers, and all great brands also learn to tell stories. Information travels under the guise of idle chatter. With Aldub and the Kalye Serye series, the storytelling is spontaneous and entertaining. While I am sure that a storyboard exists, the adlibs add to the segment’s appeal. The cliff hanging episodes keep everyone guessing. Fans wait for the development of the two’s romance. Moreover, the stories are relatable and impart a lesson. Everyone can relate to the joy of a “crush” of the giddiness of the beginnings of love.

Let me end this article by saying that while the above stated principles are based on research and are validated by the commonality of various cases around the world, these can be re-written on what could be the next influential phenomenon. Because while there are certain things that are academic, the seasoned creators and producers of Aldub were still caught by surprise – on how the viewers responded to a simple tease, on how the fans grew towards an accidental love team.

The fans are key to why Aldub is contagious. And the more we understand the realities that revolve around why things stick and get shared, the more we should be drawn closer to understand the people who likes it and shares it.

The success of Aldub compelled the other competing television network to scout the web for the next big thing. But the Aldub phenomenon debunked one of established theories on the efficacy of influential people to make anything go viral. Like in marketing, we believe that if we can just find those early adopters or effective endorsers, then a product will be really successful. With so much time focused on the messenger, we miss out on the value of the message itself as a vehicle for driving virality.

More than the faces of the Aldub franchise, the fans are glued together by the message of the Kalye Serye. These messages will probably stick on even when the bright stardom of Richards and Mendoza begin to flicker.

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Boris Joaquin is a top-ranked public speaker and masterful trainer for leadership programs and other soft skills. He is a seasoned management consultant, being involved in various industries and business sizes, from multinationals to locally owned enterprises. Presently, he’s the President & Chief Equipping Officer of Breakthrough Leadership® Management Consultancy, Inc.

Boris is a registered Investor in People Specialist helping assess and advise other organizations to achieve their business priorities through the development of their people. You may be able to contact Boris at (02) 813-2703/32 or email trainings@breakthroughleadership.asia

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