Whether you love it or hate it, Love Island now becomes the topic of conversation every summer. It’s a social phenomenon that sweeps the nation for 8 weeks of the year, and social media erupts with chatter every night. The fourth series of the show opened at the beginning of June with record breaking viewing figures for ITV2, which saw over 3.4 million people tuning in. Compared with the 2017 series, viewer numbers doubled during the first week, averaging 2.6 million every night.
As well as beating last years viewing figures, ITV2 have brought in more brands to work with. This year they are working directly with ten brands, compared to three during last year’s series. Superdrug remains the main sponsor, with Primark and Ministry of Sound also returning for more of the action. In addition, the seven new brands getting involved this year are: Rimmel London, Echo Falls, Jet2 Holidays, Kellogg’s, Lucozade Zero, Missguided and Samsung. It’s safe to say Love Island has covered all bases in terms of partner brands. They have formed partnerships related to travel, food and drink, clothing, cosmetics and technology. Viewers can now buy into the Love Island phenomenon in many more ways; from buying a bottle of wine, to buying the same top one of the contestants is wearing. Many of the partner brands are also running competitions throughout the duration of the series, with the grand prize being a pair of tickets to the Love Island final in Majorca.
In 2017, retailers New Look, Primark and Missguided designed, manufactured and shipped t-shirts with Love Island related quotes, all while the show was still running. This quick response and short lead-time ultimately delivered huge results in terms of sales, as most items sold out pretty quick. These high street brands all proved they were aware of what was going on in the world of their customer, and quickly responded. As a result of their efforts, Missguided were chosen as the official clothing sponsor of Love Island 2018 and will provide all the clothing seen on the contestants. This will enable consumers to shop the outfits they see on screen, as details of particular outfits are shared via social media after the episode airs. This opportunity is huge and will give the brand unlimited amounts of marketing content for social media, not to mention send sales through the roof.
In terms of social media, it is all about engaging and conversing. If you’re target market are millennials especially, you need to be tweeting and reacting to what is happening on Love Island. Again, brands such as Boohoo and In The Style are engaging and conversing with their audience, ultimately positioning themselves at the centre of popular online conversation, making them present and relatable. In this case, windows of opportunity extend to beyond office hours. Dino Myers- Lamptey, managing director for MullenLowe Media hub, believes ITV’s social media strategy has really stood out. “It is constantly feeding people with information and it’s what viewers are hungry for. Where traditional brands are cautious of an always on strategy and working with influencers, Love Island is letting go a bit”. Brands demonstrating a shared interest will help solidify a legitimate relationship.
Love Island is an example of how media companies can build shows that act as a platform for brands to get involved with. The viewers are extremely engaged, and genuinely want to find out what mobile phone contestants are using when they shout, “I’ve got a text!” They want to know what dress someone wore on their date, and what shade of lipstick they wore on last night’s episode. But instead of having to go looking for that information, it is right there being presented to the audience. These contestants, more so this year than ever before are being treated as influencers. Despite the fact they have entered the villa completely normal people with normal jobs, they won’t be leaving as such. ITV are now aware of the impact the show has and how it creates celebrities that audiences immediately look to for inspiration, which is ultimately what attracts the partner brands.
Love Island certainly is not everyone’s cup of tea, but whether you’re a fan or not, there are things we can learn from the way brands capitalise on its popularity. ITV have undoubtedly pulled out all the stops for this year’s series, forming partnerships with aligned businesses that want to cash in on the success of the show and its dedicated millennial audience. We will see Love Island merchandise everywhere we turn, whether that be wine bottles featuring their logo, t-shirts popular slogans or the famous water bottles. No matter your feelings towards the show, whether they are positive or negative, their marketing team should be looked at with admiration. They have understood their viewer’s completely. They know what they want from the show, where they buy clothes, what wine they drink and where they go on holiday. ITV’s ability to understand their audience has led them to create a Holy Grail platform that does not really exist anywhere else at this scale for this market. The audience is engaged, and absorbing all the content that is being placed in front of them.
Image source: ITV2