“In my many interactions with the people of ABS-CBN, whether in the Philippines or overseas with the global employee force behind TFC, I always ask them this question about our customers: ‘Minahal mo ba sila?’ (Did you truly love them?)”
On January 10, on the steps and inside the storied halls of Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel (TFC) put into action the words of former ABS-CBN Corporation President & CEO Charo Santos-Concio at the “On The Wings of Love Certified Kapamilya Fans Day”. The event was headlined by On The Wings of Love (OTWOL) teleserye’s breakthrough love team of James Reid and Nadine Lustre, known together as JaDine, joined by heartthrob co-star Paulo Avelino and the voice behind the show’s theme song, Philippine R&B Queen Kyla.
“Yes, thousands attended, but this is not about that,” explains Ricky Resurreccion, ABS-CBN North America head of ad sales, events and trade marketing. “It’s more about people driving for hours or flying from as far as San Diego, Las Vegas, Arizona, Texas, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Canada, New Zealand and even Macau to show their love and come together as a fan community. Yes, they cheered and shrieked in glee at very high decibels, but this event is more than that. This is about fans sharing the spotlight with the stars on stage, blurring the lines between fan and celebrity, having a real voice in an authentic engagement that impacts both parties.”
“Anybody can do a flashy show, but very few can create meaningful encounters and memorable moments for both fans and stars,” Resurreccion emphasized. “This was what we in TFC had in mind when we offered this Fans Day because we truly believe that anyone who sows such deep commitment and emotional investment should reap the rewards of life-enhancing experiences.”
The Magic and Meaning of #Blakedine
If there was one iconic moment at the #OTWOLFansDay that captured what Resurreccion explained, it was the surprise first face-to-face meeting between Lustre and an 5-year-old American boy named Blake from Chicago who was introduced to OTWOL by his Auntie Angel, a TFC subscriber and JaDine follower.
For several months, Auntie Angel captured Blake’s reactions and comments on watching OTWOL (with English subtitles on TFC) and his profession of love for Lustre, who he calls “Naddie”, posting these on the Instagram account, Jadinefied. Immediately, the show’s fans started following the account, Blake became a viral sensation and #Blakedine (a portmanteau of Blake and Nadine) was born.
Last Sunday, TFC, Lustre and Auntie Angel conspired benevolently to surprise Blake with an onstage meeting in person. The result was captured in video and photos that exploded in real time on social media.
The happier consequence is that a budding friendship has developed between Lustre and her true-blue 5-year-old American fan. The lasting impact is that TFC’s firm decision to put English subtitles in almost all of its programs proved effective in connecting to the non-Tagalog speaking Filipino American generations and non-Filipinos. Filipino content has crossed over and broken the barrier of language differences.
A TFC Live Experience
Television is all about storytelling. When something magical happens on TV (that is, TV in whatever viewing platform like TFC), viewers want to be part of the story that they’ve seen and heard. Fans get invested because they receive so much emotionally by identifying with the stories and characters behind their favorite shows.
TFC extended the magic of OTWOL from TV to real life by creating an #OTWOLFansDay environment, ambience and schedule of activities. The games were named after OTWOL characters, catchphrases, buzzwords and social media hashtags, like “Achieve Mo ‘Yan (Shoot The Ball)”, #JuiceColored Exclusive Picture with the Stars, Certified Otwolista Ka Ba?, Fan Time with Paulo and Kyla at the Charot Lang Olivar Family Jeepney and Golden Gate Photo Booths, respectively, Simon Says and Ikaw Na Leah Look-alike Contest.
TFC also utilized real time video teasers on the large screen so fans could see where the stars are prior to the main show: in the dressing room, at the press con area, at the photo op booths. Every time these video updates are shown, fans scream in unbridled delight, excitement and anticipation.
When the main show started, Kyla raised the energy level even higher with her Beyonce medley and a goosebump-inducing rendition of the show’s theme song as she let the fans sing the soaring chorus part. The dashing Avelino got many a heart throbbing when he serenaded the crowd and played Simon Says with a lucky lady from the audience. Then #Blakedine happened, followed by the thrilling solos and love duets of Reid and Lustre, charming the audience with their relaxed but palpable chemistry on stage. The crowd was in stitches as they joined in the fun when Reid had to listen to the candidates personal pitches and select the winner of the Ikaw Na Leah Look-alike Contest.
More than this, the TFC Live Experience spread beyond the four corners of the prestigious auditorium.
“Believe it or not, fans who are strangers to each other offered their hotel rooms to fellow JaDine fans who didn’t have a place to sleep in prior to event day. Fellow fans offered rides from and to the airports for those who flew in. Kyla’s husband, Rich Alvarez, had an impromptu mini reunion with some of his high school friends – all children of navy men and women coming from the Bay Area, Sacramento, Las Vegas, San Diego and Japan – who happened to be OTWOL fans and attended the Fans Day. This is a true live experience of the love that shines from this TFC show,” said Resurreccion.
The Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone, explaining fan psychology in an article, hit the nail on the head when he wrote that studies show precisely that “the sense of goodwill, bonding and shared purpose that comes with being a fan has a ripple effect that can benefit all aspects of living.”
In Stone’s interview with Murray State psychology behavior and fan behavior expert Daniel Wann, the latter explained: “If you are… fans, it’s pretty hard to feel lonely. It’s pretty hard to feel alienated…. People you’ve never seen before… are high-fiving you. There’s a sense of community and connectedness that comes with it.”
All these positive memories were captured by an attendee with account name mmmarielc in a quote from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Edith Wharton:
“One of the great things about travel is you find out how many good, kind people there are.”
“She posted a shot with her, me and fellow OTWOL fans and expressed how she felt about the whole experience with that quote. This is unscripted reality television. And it shows what true love for a customer and fans is – they become our own extensions. We at TFC become them, they become us. We become one,” concludes Resurreccion.