Did you know that #LoveIsland has been used 7.8 million times on Twitter since the series began? Love it or hate it, I bet you’re still talking about it.
The wave of Love Island has been very hard to avoid this year, with social channels becoming swamped with memes, TVs flooded with adverts and promotional products popping up in a variety of stores. The sheer popularity of the show can be demonstrated by the fact that this year it had more people apply to be contestants than applications to Oxford and Cambridge combined.
It might not be everyone’s favourite TV show, but you can’t deny that the marketing and the reach, in general, has been exceptional. With this in mind, we’re analysing the marketing strategy and finding out what lessons can be learnt from the reality TV powerhouse.
The main reason you can’t avoid Love Island this year? The mass amount of sponsorships. This year, Love Island signed TEN sponsorship deals. What’s even more clever? Each of these sponsors either sponsors a different aspect of the show, or has exclusive deals for promotional items.
Primark is selling their exclusive merchandise, featuring t-shirts, caps and summer accessories, across most UK stores. With this comes the usual social promotions, but it’s important to note that with this, each merchandise items is covered in quotes, taglines and famous hashtags from the 2018 show in particular. This means that the Primark clothing items weren’t actually designed or produced until the show had gotten underway and the famous phrases, such as “keeping my options open” and “#loyal”, had really made an impression on the viewers. By utilising the 2018 show’s quotes specifically, Primark are being extremely reactive and targeting the current audience – few quotes from last year’s show can really be remembered now, so to use those would be a bad move. Key takeaway – the more reactive you are, the more your audience will engage.
Echo Falls, Lucozade Zero, Jet2 and Dominos
Love Island struck a deal with Echo Falls as their official drinks partner, Dominos as their online content sponsor, Lucozade Zero as their ‘First Look’ sponsor and Jet2holidays as their holiday competition sponsor. Despite these only being small aspects of the show, these are huge brands that share the same target audience as Love Island, so for example, by getting a 5-second ad slot before online content plays, Dominos are reaching a huge number of their consumer demographic.
This year, Superdrug became Love Island’s headline sponsor for the third consecutive year. Fans of the show weren’t surprised to see the inevitable obvious product placement return, along with the ‘proud sponsors of Love Island’ adverts in each ad break. This year Superdrug are also sponsoring the Love Island app, hosting Q&A videos with the islanders and launching their own themed range of products, including shower gels, wash bags, bronzer and so much more. It’s particularly impressive to note Superdrug’s marketing strategy, in that their sales figures rose massively last year due to their sponsorship, so this year they’ve taken it even further by launching Love Island products in store and online. Even their website has a specific Love Island section where you can shop the products, watch exclusive interviews, and find out more about past and present contestants. Not bad for a health and beauty retailer! Superdrug’s sponsorship deal is clearly paying off, as it’s already been reported that their profits have increased because of the show.
In addition to Superdrug’s own sponsorship deal, they also struck a deal with affordable cosmetics brand Rimmel. As an avid watcher of Love Island, I remember the night where they threw a party and wore gold temporary tattoos but didn’t think much of it. However, I was immediately targeted with a Twitter ad from Rimmel, as it turns out they signed a deal with Superdrug, and they would exclusively sell their tattoo transfers as part of their headline sponsorship. As Rimmel’s only link to Love Island, they’ve definitely made the most it. I’ve been targeted with their ads around 4 times already, and their organic social is just as gold transfer tattoo heavy. Additionally, there’s now a Love Island specific section on their website too, just in case you needed more islander related health and beauty inspiration.
Samsung, Kellogg’s and Ministry of Sound
Samsung, Kellogg’s and Ministry of Sound are three more huge names to jump on the bandwagon of Love Island. Samsung has teamed up with the show, meaning that all the islanders only have access to a Samsung S9, on which all their texts are received and all their photos are taken. Cleverly, Samsung must have exclusive access to these behind the scenes selfies taken by the contestants and are using them as content for their ads, increasing their engagement significantly.
Kellogg’s have given consumers a chance to win tickets to the Love Island final, with branding and competition details featuring on their cereal boxes. To enter, consumers must take a selfie with their promotional box and share it on Kellogg’s Facebook page with the hashtag #KelloggsCerealDater. This deal is an interesting move for a breakfast brand, but can help them tap into a younger audience than their usual.
Ministry of Sound has made the clear link between their audience and the Love Island viewers, by releasing a compilation album in collaboration with the show, featuring popular top 40 dance songs of the summer. Although the TV show doesn’t actually feature much music, you can’t deny that by putting the Love Island brand on your compilation CD, you’re likely to increase sales.
The final and undoubtedly biggest brand partnership of Love Island 2018 has got to be Missguided. This year, Missguided took advantage of the fashion envy hitting most 18-25-year-olds throughout the past 3 seasons, and decided to make the online searching a little easier, by partnering with the island and providing each of the female contestants with products to wear. Watching Love Island, pretty much every single item of clothing worn by the girls is from Missguided, so there’s no need to go scouring the internet to find out what Georgia was wearing when Josh came back from Casa Amor and chose Kaz over her. This genius concept is made evermore so effective by Missguided showing clips of the contestants from that night’s episode, wearing their products, on their Instagram story, followed by a Missguided model in the same piece of clothing, featuring the ‘swipe up to shop’ CTA. Could it be any simpler to buy Georgia’s dress, the same day as she wore it on TV? Absolutely not. In addition to this, they also have a Love Island section on their website, so if you missed their Instagram story showing off Laura’s dress last week, you can still catch it there. Like Superdrug, Missguided has definitely made a great decision in styling the Love Island contestants, with sales already reported to be ‘booming’, apparently increasing by 40% when the show airs.
There’s no doubt that sponsoring or partnering with Love Island has proven successful for many big names, but it’s not just those brands that have been utilising the TV show’s influence to increase their own engagement and sales.
Missguided may be the style sponsor, but that’s not stopped their competitors – Boohoo.com, inthestyle.com, prettylittlething.com and many more – from boosting their own channels. Twitter is without a doubt the home of Love Island debates and discussions. Before, during and after an episode, there’s a plethora of memes, videos, arguments, polls – literally anything relating to Love Island. You can pretty much guarantee that at 9 pm every night, #LoveIsland will be trending in the UK. With that in mind, the aforementioned brands have exploited this need to discuss every tiny detail of the islanders’ lives by joining in the conversation and creating their own memes and starting their own conversations.
Inthestyle.com has become synonymous with Love Island by live-tweeting the show and sharing their bold opinions on the contestants. One of their most engaged with tweets even received a huge amount of backlash, prompting a ‘sorry not sorry’ type statement from the fashion brand, but by this point, their engagement had already rocketed, so it’s unlikely they regret it. Off the back of their successful analysis of the islanders every night from 9 pm, they’ve launched tongue-in-cheek discount codes, a t-shirt range featuring the much-loved quote “I’m loyal babe” and pretty much shown how fully understanding your target audience (in this case, Love Island fans) can really help you boost your channels.
Boohoo.com and prettylittlething.com have both used similar tactics to inthestyle.com, but have also opted to share user-generated content, whilst consistently using the hashtag #LoveIsland. Not only are the brands furthering their reach, but they’re also saving themselves the effort of producing their own content and saving fans the time of searching Twitter for golden memes – it’s a win-win for everyone.
The main lesson to be learnt from the Twitter success of inthestyle.com, don’t be afraid to jump on trends if you know they’re going to resonate with your target audience and don’t be afraid to give strong opinions – it might pay off!
Love Island’s Own Marketing
Sponsorships and other brand’s use of Love Island aside, the show itself has really upped it’s marketing this year, so it’s no surprise that this has been the most successful season yet, scoring record ratings for ITV2. The Love Island app has returned this year (sponsored by Superdrug of course), allowing viewers to vote for their favourites, view exclusive ‘First Look’ clips of the next episode, enter polls, buy the personalised water bottles and shop the Missguided Styles Love Island range. Although all of these features are impressive and capture their audience, the most effective use of the app has got to be the notifications that it sends out, giving you ten and five-minute warnings prior to the show, along with a little teaser. If you weren’t going to sit down and watch the next episode before, you definitely are after you find out it’s the “most dramatic night yet”.
Not only have Love Island released their app, they’ve also launched a game. The Sims-like role-playing game allows players to be the star of their own Love Island competition, choosing who to speak to, who to recouple with, when to start arguments, apologise and much more. It seems quite gimmicky, but it’s got a rating of 4.5 stars and is #1 in Role Playing on the App Store. Another way to further your brand – well played Love Island.
Originally Love Island obviously went down quite a traditional route of TV adverts, teaser clips etc. But as the show has continued, they’ve ventured a little outside of the conventional marketing and followed the trend of memes, even turning their own clips into them. As previously mentioned, brands have made and shared memes, clips, anything slightly funny about the show and received really high engagement, so Love Island’s own Twitter page began to do the same.
Content such as this gif of Alex running across the villa carrying two drinks and trying not to spill them went huge on Twitter, with Love Island’s own account encouraging followers to quote the tweet and turn it into a meme.
Things to Takeaway
Love Island 2018 has undoubtedly shown the power of social media presence, reactive content, well-chosen sponsorship deals and memes. One of the most significant marketing tips to take from Love Island is to really know your audience. None of the above marketing moves would have been successful if the audience didn’t resonate with the products or the show -think, it wouldn’t make sense for Marks and Spencer to tweet about Love Island’s latest recoupling, would it?
Now Love Island is coming to an end, we can all look forward to the islanders’ influencer marketing campaigns, #ad and #spon posts, along with their fashion brand collaborations and TV guest appearances, until the build-up of next year’s series begins. Who doesn’t love Love Island?