Who’s the winner?
Reality television brings out a special side in all of us. And I’m not talking about the obsessive-compulsive side. I’m talking about the super sleuth – which is exactly what these television networks want!
There is something in our human nature which makes us incredibly inquisitive. Is it the need to know information first? Is it the need to be better informed than all of our friends? Is it the need to be on the cutting edge? Who knows? But this is a side of you that reality television shows desperately want to engage.
Every season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette causes the same stories to pop up in the media. ‘Has [enter name of Bachelor/Bachelorette] finally slipped up?’ ‘[enter name of contestant] has accidentally revealed the winner’ Always the same stories because we are so emotionally involved in these shows that we want to get to the end already.
But these stories rarely actually reveal any hidden truths.
Take this week for example. Popular contestant on The Bachelorette, Michael, posted a photo on Instagram captioned ‘Sunday sleep in’ showing him asleep in his bed. This photo seemed innocent enough but it has now spawned a huge frenzy around who could have taken this photo with many comments hypothesising that it is the Bachelorette herself! And to add to suspicion, the photo was taken down as quickly as the frenzy started to build.
Now, I’m not trying to be a cynic, but could this all be a big part of The Bachelorette’s marketing plan?
Every season these same stories appear. Most seasons they lead audiences in the completely wrong direction. But they do achieve one thing. They empower the series’ biggest fans to become influential word-of-mouth ambassadors.
These people at the forefront of Bachelor/ette hypotheses stumble across ‘clues’ which encourage them to start shouting about the reality television show from the hills. Whipping the fans into a frenzy. And getting word out across entertainment news outlets.
If I was working for The Bachelorette, I would certainly place these clues outside the show because the best way to keep people off the right path is to send them in the opposite direction. (And the correct one occasionally just to keep away any suspicion). Plus, whenever one of these clues are stumbled upon, word-of-mouth surrounding the show immediately increases alerting non-audience members to an experience they are missing out on.
When you have a huge following of hyper-engaged followers, all you need to do is give them a reason to talk about you . . . and it is even more powerful when it doesn’t appear to be coming from you, but is a secret which your followers have discovered for themselves because then they get to be the ones in the know (a state which must be instantly broadcast!).
And the winner? Is it the audience member? No. Is it the Bachelorette? No. Is it the winning Bachelor? Not even close. It is television channel’s ratings!