I’ve been searching for some cogent entertainment industry analysis of the AlDub phenomenon and in a Eureka moment, I’ve found it. It’s an article by Veronica Uy, senior editor of Interaksyon — and it’s an article that is built upon two interviews, one with advertising executive Vincent Pozon, and one with former GMA writer Elmer Gatchalian. This is really good stuff — I want to comment on some of the key points, but you should read the whole article which is available here.
The headline is: How #AlDub is a game-changer in Philippine television, advertising, social media …. (and by the way — it’s got 7k FB shares so I’m not the first to discover it.)
The Dif Between Real Chemistry and Manufactured Kilig
Gatchalian nails the fact that the audience can tell the difference between manufactured kilig and something real. “AlDub is a hit because I think they [Alden and Yaya Dub] are the complete antithesis of manufactured stars and love teams. Their unexpected and innately potent chemistry is a breath of fresh air in local showbiz that is so used to manufacturing kilig.
Riding on the Social Media Quality of “Fresh” and “Bold”
This is the part I especially like. Traditional broadasters have a long time harnessing the “freshness” and “boldness” of social media. It almost always feels clunky when TV networks try to behave like social media. But EB got it right in this one.
Riding on traditional media, both the segment and the show have tapped into the social media principles of freshness and boldness, and the enduring qualities of authenticity and expectation.
“The whole thing was born when the whole world watched a girl blush on television,” said [ad executive] Pozon.
“Eat Bulaga” saw the audience reaction and ran away with it building on this first blush with standard teleserye plots, which Gatchalian listed as: ampon (foundling), long-lost daughter, diary, hostage-taking, lola as kontrabida (villain), against-all-odds love story of Yaya and Alden, etc.
I think that’s really at the heart of the genius — they saw the social media moment, which they created with the split-screen matchup at just the right moment….lightning struck with Maine’s reaction to Alden….but then they carefully employed themes and plots that gave storytelling structure to the situation. It’s that combination of social media reality and thoughtful, values based structure that has caused it to become, as Donald Trump would say, “huge“….
Eclipsing The Competition
“Aldub’s persistent and pervasive relevance has the tendency to make all other celebs, love teams, and TV shows irrelevant…Niluluma niya ang lahat ng mga love team, artista at TV show sa ngayon. So producers of TV content have to really up the ante in terms of innovative storytelling and content production,” said Gatchalian.
And that’s really the point — this is “innovative storytelling and content production” — and the weird part is that the 1% intelligentsia in the Philippines who accuse it of “shallow” are themselves mababaw because they’re the ones who dont’ get the difference between manufactured kilig and this. They mistake the innovation and creativity of AlDub for the manufactured kilig they deplore — in the process exposing their own lack of insight.
Special Space – Between Scripted and Reality
Here’s how Uy winds up the article:
AlDub occupies the still-undefined space in television and pop culture, balancing reality and make-believe, giving respectful distance to whatever relationship is developing between Maine and Alden (if any), between reality and make-believe, between romantic-comedy and suspense-drama. “Somebody in there (‘Eat Bulaga’) is thinking, ‘We’re not going with what worked in the past, we’re not going with experience or what is world-class. We’re going to keep a respectful distance and watch this blossom and we will water and take care of it,’” said Pozon. “I am sure there is a tug-o-war between scriptwriting it and giving it space,” he added. The timing was also perfect. “They are the love team of this millennial and social media-obsessed generation. And I think ‘Eat Bulaga’ has found an enduring brand with AlDub — and they were found by a new audience too,” said Gatchalian.
I think that explains it perfectly– keep a respectful distance and water and take care of it — and see what blossoms. That’s a very different attitude than would be the case in a fully scripted situation, and it reflects the supercharge nature of this situation in which elements of reality and fantasy are blended.
Big kudos again to Veronica Uy for this article, and thanks to Elmer Gatchalian and Vincent Puzon for their insights. Brilliant stuff.
Pleae, go read the whole thing: How #AlDub is a game-changer in Philippine television, advertising, social media by Veronica Uy on InterAksyon