It’s been more than seven years since the last Gulder Ultimate Search GUS auditions held. So there must really be some major thirst for what is arguably Nigeria’s biggest reality TV show.
Because, less than 5 days after Gulder, the organisers announced a return, the show’s servers crashed so badly it took 24 hours to get them back up.
Comments went wild on Twitter, Whatsapp and Facebook, as young Nigerians looked for alternative ways of registering.
The producers did not issue a statement. But an insider said they took all precautions to make sure the infrastructure was resilient.
One brand manager told us: ‘Who would have imagined that in 2021, a website so elaborate would succumb to pressure? They knew the rush would be massive, but no one prepared for the kind of pressure that came in within the first hour.
Nigerians appear to love reality shows; over half a million applied to participate in Gulder Ultimate Search between 2004 and 2014. Another show, which is totally different from GUS, Big Brother, says it gets up to 10,000 applications every year.
And it’s not surprising because the shows promise a combination of fame, money, and guaranteed escape from the labour market plagued by unemployment; according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), unemployment is expected to increase up to 35.2% in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Gulder Ultimate Search, which borders on the survival instincts of contestants, began in 2004 and ran for 11 seasons before going off air in 2014.
On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, Nigerian Breweries announced that the show is making its comeback with “The Age of Craftsmanship” as the theme of the 2021 edition.
Since Gulder Ultimate Search went off air in 2014, many fans have been calling for its return, and there are suggestions that the crash on Wednesday may have been caused by the volume of traffic from excited fans who have been anticipating the return of the show.
Officials have confirmed that the cause was a higher than expected level of traffic from prospective applicants who thronged the website to register for the show.
An NB executive who wanted to remain anonymous confirmed that “the website became temporarily inaccessible to applicants as a result of a significant increase in the volume of traffic on Wednesday.” NB stands for Nigerian Breweries, the Nigerian operating company of heineken, which produces Gulder beer.
The source however, said the GUS team swung into action immediately after the crash to resolve the issue and ensure the website was restored for applicants.