The 36-year-old TV show “Eat Bulaga” has reinvented itself recently with the “Kalye Serye” (street series) segment featuring the Aldub love team. Aldub is short for Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, the latter better known on TV as Yaya Dub. According to Kantar, Eat Bulaga has so far attracted some 2.3 million new households (almost doubling from their 2.5 million households in July to 4.8 million last September 26, 2015), coming from across all socio-demographic classes. This estimate excludes OFWs, as well as those watching via neighborhood sari-sari stores or appliance store showrooms. The additional market penetration focusing on the unserved and the underserved market segments like new viewers is known as a Market-Driving Strategy – where a company or brand gains not just market shares but greater market access. Attracting new customers is only the first step in market-driving strategy because eventually the market will grow even bigger as existing customers start trying the new concept. They may even switch their preference as well. Innovation from market-driving strategy has been known to have the ability to make existing brand positioning obsolete!

Consider what Eat Bulaga did NOT do in developing this new format – they did not hire expensive superstars. They did not highlight mestizo/meztiza-looking celebrities. The “scripts” used enabled the actors to do a lot of improvisations that were simple, natural, and fun. They did not hire sexy dancers to attract the male audience. They did not do controversial gimmicks to be entertaining. They did not create a coliseum event. They created the Kalye Serye (street series) that promotes giving back and enables direct interaction with a chosen barangay. They hired a successful social media personality Maine Mendoza (known for her dubsmash videos) to play Yaya Dub, a caregiver to the character of Lola Nidora. Then, an unintended split screen romance was “cooked up” when a typically grim-faced Yaya Dub smiled when she saw Alden. The result — a wholesome reality show format that expresses the simple desires of the human spirit, offering not just noon time entertainment but also a sharing of traditional Filipino values — an ingredient injected later that started the rapid growth of the show. Like the “Amazing Race” that offers a tourism show done in a unique way, the Aldub segment is like an educational program done in a game-changing fusion of TV and social media. This made this Aldub segment emerge first as a viable and innovative niche alternative to noon time entertainment, and then the “experiment” quickly became mainstream that engaged their audience and broke all-time social media records. (Tweet count was 25.65 million last September 26, 2015 while audience share nationwide was over twice that of rival ‘Showtime’, even much higher lead in Mega Manila. From a close ratings-fight months before Aldub, Eat Bulaga simply left competition in the dust).

In two separate instances, I asked a question about the recent Aldub phenomenon in my FB fan page –“If you were ABS, what should you do to counter the phenomenal rise of competitor ?Eat Bulaga because of ?AlDub?” From a crisis perspective, ABS-CBN would be threatened with the Aldub success because the drawing power of the existing stars of Showtime will not only be questioned, but also because a spin off show in primetime can be created out of the Aldub popularity that will now rival more shows of ABS-CBN. This may translate to loss of audience, advertising revenue (some advertisers pay based on ratings) and even stock prices. The psychological loss alone is just unthinkable given that Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza were practically unknown compared to the super star status of Showtime’s mainstays and love teams.

In that FB post, some of the comments were personal and uncalled for, perhaps, an indicator of the passions behind the discussion. Afterwards, I asked another question in my fan page, “Now that there is ?PastillasGirl (referring to the new social media personality featured by ABS-CBN’s Showtime), what should ?‎Aldub do to stretch their ?”stickiness” factor of their viewers?” Many of the AlDub fans protested that Pastillas Girl cannot even be considered competition.

The lesson is simple — in market-driving strategy, firms try to embrace game-changing innovation to attract noncustomers. The basic idea is acknowledging that while the current value proposition is good for current customers, it is not good enough for noncustomers, hence, the need to understand the pain points of the noncustomers. In the case of existing shows, one pain point frequently mentioned is that some shows (and personalities) do not provide a value system that is encouraging for family members to emulate. The strength of traditional TV shows becomes a weakness as paradigms are challenged and noncustomers wake up market players on their assumptions about their industry logic. What used to work becomes an overnight case of what should not. Marketing history will also tell us that while market-driving strategy can create new industry standards and make existing market players obsolete, multiple market-driving strategies can happen within an industry from among market players.

(JOSIAH GO is Chairman of marketing training and advocacy firm Mansmith and Fielders Inc. He can be contacted at josiah@mansmith.net)