What is overbearing CEO microdrama? Food Delivery Platforms Meituan and Ele.me are all in

During April’s ‘Divine Coupon Festival’ (users can collect coupons ranging from 18 RMB, approx. 2.49 USD, to ones which offers discounts as low as 1%), Meituan launched three microdramas centred around the theme of “Overbearing CEO”. Similarly, Ele.me joined in on 10 April, releasing an animated version of the “Overbearing CEO” microdrama, using a creative narrative to set up a youthful image for the platform with memes.

“Overbearing CEO” (霸总) TV dramas or online novels portray the romance between a wealthy and authoritative young man, typically a successful businessman, and a girl from a modest background. Within microdrama frames, which are web series with episodes between under a minute to 15 minutes each, the story of the Overbearing CEO becomes more condensed and outrageous.

The Meituan microdramas feature plots like “Logging into my Meituan account to plan the most budget-friendly yet luxurious wedding”, intending to provide users with both the satisfaction of cheap coupons and engaging storylines. Conversely, the Ele.me microdrama offers a fresh perspective on the “Overbearing CEO” narrative, presenting it through the eyes of Bro Wang, a delivery guy, who serves as both audience and delivery driver of an amusing roast (吐槽).

When Ele.me released the microdrama on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, it initiated an online prize draw, gaining over 3,000 retweets. Meituan’s livestream room of microdrama’s actors attracted approximately 20 million users during the period, as evidenced by on-site screenshots, while its Weibo post received around 11,000 retweets.

Microdrama marketing has been practiced by cosmetic products, e-commerce platforms, and food & beverage brands. What ties these categories together is their relatively low unit prices and the short consumer purchase journey. Consequently, a 1 to 15-minute episode of a microdrama can directly lead to sales. Moreover, these categories constitute essential aspects of consumers’ daily lives, and can easily integrate into the storyline through the anchor’s interpretation.


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