In this day and age, the Internet sphere has become a habitual place for the everyday communication. The article Internet and Emotions: New Trends in an Emerging Field of Research. Serrano-Puche (2016) mapped out different research areas where the Internet and emotions converge within Media and Communication. It introduced some studies focus on the analysis of a specific emotion including empathy, annoyance, envy or jealousy, resentment and hope; the latter part emphasized the analysis of emotions in relation to the social networks, where Lasén argued that rather than a means of communication, the digital realm is a space that we inhabit and that it inhabits us. (Lasén, 2014)
Under the guidance of Serrano-Puche’s article, I found that the large-scale emotion contagion, which is described as the viral spread of content in the digital realm, is closely linked to emotion marketing, a popular marketing tactic utilized by the online TV drama producers in mainland China.
Online drama series have never been as trendy as in recent age in mainland China. 2015 witnessed the success of Surprise and Go princess go in mainland. The latter one, a time travel series launched in December 2015 by the LeTV, has attracted more than 1.53 billion clicks for episode 1 and heatedly discussed across different social media platforms (Weibo, Wechat, forums, etc.). As the plot and the criticism spread widely, more and more netizens joined the parade of commenting and watching, leading to an increase of more than 500 thousand on the membership of the website of LeTV in a short period and brought a direct profit of 10 million yuan to its producer and distributor.
This adaptation based on an online novel and is a no-brain episodes (easy-to-digest program) for relaxation in comparison to other dramas on the list. The colourful scene settings, weird costumes and props are prepared delicately by the film crew for the purpose of creating feelings of surprise, self-mockery and joy. As the topic of this TV series meets the requisite of sharing, it produced an extraordinary amount of buzz online. To put it in a more post-90s way: they created gag lines to arouse more bullet curtains. That means the registered members can comment while watching the video with their commentary creating a visual effect of a series of barrage on the screen, and this is a Japanese term originated from one kind of shooting game.
In fact, audience were induced by the marketing team to comment on the plot. Post 90s and 00s are netizens inhabited by such kind of culture, and they are willing to create punchlines by themselves. Commenting on the scene or reposting articles that share the same view will provide the person with more comments from friends and clicks on the like button in social media platform like Wechat, and that would bring him/her the feelings of satisfaction and drive him to produce more content and enjoy the same felling again and again. When a person is commenting on or reposting articles about a media product, the interaction is from human to the machine directly, which means it is simple and private that there is no need to hide his/her emotion. As the same sentiment is contagious in the Internet sphere, it then becomes popular, and a series of commenting and reposting made up an action of large-scale communication and auto promotion for the product.
Emotion marketing is a habitual tactic for LeTV and there is no exception for Go Princess Go, with which LeTV grabbed audience’s attention and money before they rationally awaken to it. We can tell, from this case, that the market potential of netizens in mainland are huge and the tactic to stimulate them still needs further studies.
- Serrano-Puche, J. (2016) Internet and emotions: New trends in an emerging field of research, Comunicar, 24, 19-26. http://dx.doi.org/10.3916/C46-2016-02
- Lasén, A. (2014). Introducción. Las mediaciones digitales de la edu- cación sentimental de los y las jóvenes. In I. Megía Quirós, & E. Ro- dríguez-San-Julián (Coords.), Jóvenes y comunicación. La impron- ta de lo virtual, 7-16. Madrid: Fundación de Ayuda contra la Drogadicción.
- Xu Fei, Conversation with the Supervisor Gan Wei: Marketing team did a good job, and we are not a team in poverty(对话《太子妃升职记》监制甘薇：营销立大功 剧组真不穷) [online](2016, Jan 14). Retrieved from http://www.jiemian.com/article/507859.html
- Tai Zi Fei Sheng Zhi Ji internet program (太子妃升职记网络剧) (2015, Dec 24). We got the doctor a hat! [Microblog post]. Retrieved from http://www.weibo.com/5604993031/D9Tm6gNqX?type=comment#_rnd1456065004292