The internet in China is overseen by the Cyberspace Administration. Besides keeping out capitalist influences from the global internet, they have their own challenges at home. According to a story in this week’s Popbitch newsletter, there’s an issue with the craziness of one particular group of pop music fans.
There’s a Netflix-type network called iQIYI which launched a program called Youth With You 3, conceived with the purpose of creating a new boy band for the masses. Sponsoring the show was Mengniu, a daily company. The hook was that fans could get extra voting power for their favourites on the show by scanning the QR codes found on the caps of a particular bottled milk drink. That, thought Mengnui, would be a nice way to boost sales.
And it worked. But with some serious unintended consequences.
Fans of the show created an online drive to buy millions of dollars worth of this drink, just for the caps. The drink itself was more often than not just poured down the drain. The result was a huge shortage of milk just a few days after China introduced some new anti-waste laws regarding food.
The final of Youth With You 3 got canceled, as did the entire show. All contestants were sent home. Game over.