It is perhaps the greatest marketing success story ever concocted in the Philippines to promote a product or a service.
We are not referring here to the marketing of Daang Matuwid, whose grim reality, should by now, is familiar to most Filipinos who daily have to endure an abysmally decrepit metro railway mass transit, horrendous traffic, graft at every nook of government offices, and the small-mindedness and greed of politicians, big and small.
As success stories born out of serendipity go, this imaginary—or real—love story in packets or teleserye—all started with a sigh, and perhaps a wink. Girl meets boy. Girl likes the boy. She sighs in near orgasmic relief. As it turns out, boy also likes the girl. It happened, on July 16, 2015, at the Juan For All, All For Juan segment of popular noontime show Eat Bulaga in suburban Quezon City.
Quick on the draw, the show’s producers saw the potential of the chemistry between boy and girl. Thus was born the AlDub phenomenon.
There is no single explanation to account for this miracle of 21st century television. “AlDub just happened,” grins Felipe L. Gozon, chair and CEO of GMA Network Inc., which has to split the windfall with TAPE, the block timer of Eat Bulaga which has rights to the girl. The boy is a fast-rising mainstay of GMA Network. The AlDub segment is the most sought-after slot for tv advertisers.
AlDub is the phenomenal split-screen love team of actor Alden Richards and showbiz newbie Maine “Yaya Dub” Mendoza. Thus, the term “AlDub” was coined from the first syllables of their screen names.
Loads of product endorsements, personal and as a tandem, prove AlDub’s commercial impact, bringing enormous fortune to the duo and to their creators and producers, of course, to GMA Network. Business has been so good Channel 7 raised the bonus of personnel to 1.25 of monthly salary.
Today, AlDub endorses nearly every major consumer product, from burgers to cola, milk to vinegar, house cleaning products to body upkeep, toothpaste to texting, sardines to snow caps, and of course, clothes and the chemical to make them soft while being washed. There are more and we cannot recall them at the moment.
Alden and Maine are today’s hottest celebrities. Maine or Yaya Dub is the third fastest-growing celebrity on Twitter, next to international pop singers Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. Her Twitter account has 2.9 million followers.
Alden, meanwhile, looks like the future Piolo Pascual or John Lloyd Cruz, assuming he can be trained to act or sing adequately to make the girls, young and old, swoon, cry or even faint.
In a recent anniversary episode, Alden attempted to summon his tears while trying to show his love for Maine and the audience in the studio, and perhaps in millions of households, joined the tearjerking.
Forty-one million tweets (from followers)—that’s the reason why “their (AlDub’s) meteoric rise in the Philippines on TV and social media is difficult to ignore,” says Rico Hizon, a BBC reporter.
“They have dominated headlines and social media trends—certainly in the Philippines—but few have tried to evaluate this winning formula. It is, of course, about great entertainment, but perhaps the magic is also in the marketing, a smart social media strategy, and good business sense,” adds Hizon.
An average of two million tweets on weekdays and four million tweets on weekends about #Aldub dominate the social media world, making each noontime a frenzy.
Six days in a week (Monday to Saturday), millions of fans tune-in to the 36-year-old noontime variety show “Eat Bulaga!” to watch a short skit called KalyeSerye and have something to feel good in a world full of trials.
KalyeSerye is the love team’s daily escapade in the noontime show’s “Juan For All, All For Juan” segment.
“Eat Bulaga!” is mature, concedes Jenny Ferre, in a BBC interview. EB’s creative recalled that the program had been facing problems attracting young viewers, and her team had been trying to come up with a solution for five years.
Thanks to AlDub, the younger generation took notice of the country’s longest-running TV show. It is evident not only with the traffic it makes in the new media but also in the ratings game of the traditional media.
Per Nielsen TV Audience Measurement, “Eat Bulaga’s” average household rating from July 16 (the fateful day when the AlDub love team was formed) to Sept. 30 reached 24.7 percent in National Urban Philippines, 11.5 points higher than its rival ABS-CBN’s, “It’s Showtime’s” 13.2 percent.
Moreover, 10 out of the 10 highest TV ratings recorded in Mega Manila in 2015 belong to “Eat Bulaga.”
When finally Alden and Yaya Dub met in a “Tamang Panahon” concert, they drew 55,000 shrieking fans to the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bulacan. Thousands others were stranded outside. The episode was watched by more than half of tv households in the Philippines.
The #EBTamangPanahon is the third most trending topic for 2015 next to #KCA and #TeenChoice. The “Tamang Panahon” concert recorded a staggering 41 million tweets in just 24 hours from Oct. 24-25, 2015.
The show is so far 2015’s most watched single episode on free-to-air TV with 42.9 percent household rating in National Uraban Television Audience Measurement (NUTAM).
Also, AlDub’s first “kilig” moment on July 16, 2015 landed at the ninth spot as the most watched video in Youtube, a video sharing website, for 2015 with five million views.
So what is behind AlDub’s success? Maybe its light and wholesome love story that brings back the almost forgotten Filipino values of chivalry, modesty, respect for elders, and morality, which many viewers find very amusing in a fast changing world.
Because of this, even the very conservative Catholic Church commended the love team. In its Twitter account, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines cited the KalyeSerye for “supporting the noble cause of spreading virtue, values and morality that our nation deserves.”
The KalyeSerye bagged accolades in the Catholic Social Media Awards (CSMA) “for their efforts of promoting forgotten Filipino Catholic values in their show.”
In the show, Lola Nidora, played by Wally Bayola, is the representation of old Filipino values. She gives obstacles to Alden and Yaya Dub to prevent them from meeting in flesh as she believes it is not yet the “tamang panahon.”
Every time Nidora imposes challenges on the two lovers she gives them advice on how to express love responsibly saying, “ang lahat ng bagay ay hindi minamadali. Darating ito sa tamang panahon.”