The unexpected influence of Love Island


Yep. You read the headline correctly – we’re putting all our eggs in one basket and covering Love Island at mm* towers this month.

On paper, it’s not my type. Daily reality TV dating show based on finding the one? No thanks. But here I am seven weeks later – sharing an obsession with Liam Gallagher and 2.2 million other people that has come to its joyful end this week.

The premise is simple, a group of eleven gorgeous twenty-somethings are placed in a lush villa for seven weeks. They ‘couple up’ with other contestants – which can involve sharing a bed (or not) – at the start, and each time someone new arrives, which happens about once a week. Then the public votes to keep their favourites in the villa. Those with fewest votes get voted out… You know the story. The last couple get a cash prize of £50,000 – but more importantly, hopefully find the love of their life.

So how have I managed to not get pied in the mm*e content meeting when this article came up…

In the current depressing state of the world, I don’t think I was the only one sub-consciously looking for some escapism to a Majorcan villa. If I wasn’t able to jump on the next flight, a daily dose at 9pm definitely felt like it did the trick. Being time poor too – this is a genuinely, funnily, well edited hour of sunshine and fun. It’s a rare opportunity to get a daily people-watching dose – personalities, jokes, fashion, conversations, opinions, dance moves, raps.

I could go on for pages about the general change in consensus towards Love Island and the general appreciation but I don’t want any agg so I’m going to keep it focused on the brand story…

The grafting brand story isn’t isolated to Love Island but it’s perhaps one of the more powerful examples of the catalyst a show like this can bring if the affiliation is right. Firstly Superdrug? The dowdy, unloved alternative to Boots. No longer a fan of being mugged off, they have made a savvy shift to being the younger, bouncier alternative over the last few years – revitalising their in-store experience (wellbeing bar anyone?), securing exclusive product. A multi-channel sponsorship campaign, including product placement, enabled them to stick their brand on a highly-engaged audience (which isn’t only their target market, I *coughcough* have been into Superdrug countless times in the last seven weeks after a 15-year hiatus).


The reality TV brand allegiance is a fascinating story. The product placement ‘p’ becoming ever prevalent across reality TV shows, often subtle but still a nod to the commercial cracking on of these programmes. It’s not just formal brand affiliations either – many brands utilise the opportunity to turn the show’s contestants into key influencers. @Loveislandoutfits’ has 110k followers – showcasing anything from Zara to small independents. Needless to say, the ‘wear-to-sell-out’ rate is speedy. The contestants are actively encouraged to take selfies and update from the villa through the @loveisland Instagram account.


New Look jumping on the t-shirt phrase bandwagon:


Ultimately it’s about love and relationships (including friendship and family). Love Island presenter Caroline Flack summed it up ‘It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, where you’re from, how old you are, it doesn’t matter how much experience you’ve got in life, how educated you are: emotions are all the same.’

Embracing its accessibility is what makes it so enchanting. It’s reaching out to the strengths of us as humans rather than reeling in the darker sides. A powerful force. Love Island carves an emotive path, with an engagement level that brands spend years trying to create.

Favourite bits:
The rap…

Camilla’s speech
“Whilst Love Island may be about finding romantic love, there are so many other lessons that we have all learnt in here and we now have the incredible opportunity to apply those in the world to make a real difference. To be brave, to stand up for what we think is right, to throw ourselves into every single challenge that life throws at us, and to always try to be that little bit kinder than we need to be.” Camilla, Episode 40, 20th July

Written by Emily Wright

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