By Tom Ritondale
The reality television empire E! has done it once again with its new reality show Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, otherwise known as #RKOBH.
Revolving around the affluent lifestyles of various twenty-something year olds living in the 90210, #RKOBH focuses exactly on what its title suggests, but it’s the integration of social media into the show and its promotions that set it apart.
The premiere commercial begins with dainty music and a voice-over stating, “every now and then a TV show comes along that captures the voice of a generation.” Following this, main character Dorothy Wang interjects “have you ever partied so hard you partied your eyebrows off? Because I have.” “This is not that show,” the voiceover continues, as Lady Gaga’s ‘Donatella’ thumps in the background, with its lyrics echoing the show’s premise.
While Dorothy Wang and EJ Johnson, son of Magic Johnson, are in no way your average young adults, the show has used their status as a means of integrating social media with reality television. Following the success of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, shows such as ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians (#KUWTK) and E!’s ‘Fashion Police’ are incorporating social media into their platforms with varying degrees of success.
This is where #RKOBH changed the game.
The entire show is formatted like a social media site, with cast members regularly seen taking “selfies” and posting them to their Instagram profiles, and real posts from the cast’s social media profiles cropping up throughout the show’s ~22 minute run time.
During a dinner outing in Cabo San Lucas, the screen flashed various tweets and text messages that cast members sent during the dinner. When the show goes from one location to another, there is often a mock-Facebook page establishing where they are and what is happening.
The show bridges the gap between television and social media. Whether it is incorporating hashtags in the actual title of the show, the integration of Twitter and Instagram into every episode, or the live updates from cast members’ social media profiles, the show pulls in the viewer who hates everything it stands for by doing something different. Social media is still new to the advertising and promotions world, and E!’s integration of these platforms with one of television’s most popular genres is an advertiser’s dream come true.