Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Love Island is a smash hit success.
With a record-breaking number of viewers tuning in to this year’s opener, and a whole host of celebs confessing their addiction on social media – the show has generated the type of buzz than most brands dream of.
So, while it’s easy to scoff at, hear me out… there’s a lot to appreciate from a marketing perspective.
Here’s five things we can learn. Not including what the term ‘chirpsing’ means, sadly.
Carve your own voice
Love Island has infiltrated popular culture in a big way in the UK, but arguably no more so than in terms of language. Last year in particular, the show spawned (or rather, made famous) a slew of catchphrases that have since become synonymous with the show.
From ‘muggy’ to ‘pied off’, contestants celebrate the regional, cultural, and yes, sometimes nonsensical nuances of language spoken by young people today.
#LoveIsland‘s lingo of muggy melts is part of a long tradition of British slang for chirpsing: @Susie_Dent recommends classics like “sphallolalia”- intense flirtation that leads absolutely nowhere- or calling a hottie a “snoutfair” or a “bellibone”https://t.co/WApsPg61Rr
— i newspaper (@theipaper) June 11, 2018
Naturally, fans of the show have cottoned on to this in a big way, and celebrate it by taking on the phrases themselves. For brands, of course, it’s never ideal to shoehorn in slang or over-egg friendly language.
However, Love Island’s influence shows that – if used in the right way – colloquial language or slang can make brands sound more relatable, as well as build a more intimate connection with consumers. This is especially pertinent on social media, where conversation and interaction is key.
Create shared moments
If you’ve ever scrolled through Twitter during a particularly juicy episode of Love Island, you’ll know that multi-screening is most certainly a skill.
Fans of the show constantly tweet during the show (as well as before and after), giving ITV2’s social team the opportunity to create an even more fun and immersive viewing experience for users.
It does this by retweeting and replying, as well as tweeting teasers and cliff-hangers at opportune moments like during ad breaks.
— ITV2 (@itv2) June 18, 2018
While this is just good practice on social, it also helps to create shared moments, and the sense that fans are enjoying the same collective experience.
In a similar vein, with people typically tuning into the show at the same time every day (rather than watching on catch-up), it demostrates that live or scheduled television is far from dead. Another example of this is the popular gaming app, HQ Trivia, which also draws people in at a specific time.
That being said, it’s also been suggested that Love Island has fuelled sign-ups to the ITV Hub, too, which perhaps proves that it’s not the channel that matters, but the content itself.
25% of all 16-25 in the UK registered on itv’s platform to watch love island. TV isn’t dead… on tablet and mobile that is #smwitv
— Cecile Midrouillet (@Midrouille) September 13, 2017
As well as the show’s production team using social media in a reactive way, the level of conversation generated by Love Island means a whole host of brands are keen to get in on the action too.
While a number of brands are officially affiliated with the show (more on that later), those that aren’t still can’t resist engaging with users on the topic.
Of course, it is important that these brands naturally align with the show’s audience, otherwise there’s the danger of talk merely falling on deaf ears. Or worse, disdainful ones. Love Island is nothing if not divisive.
Interestingly, even brands you might not expect to talk about Love Island have found a way to jump on the bandwagon. Perhaps one of the most off-the-wall has been Chessington World of Adventures, which enlisted Danny Dyer to narrate its social media series, ‘Penguin Love Island’, earlier in June.
— Chessington Resort (@CWOA) June 8, 2018
In case you’ve missed the connection there, Danny Dyer is the father of one of this year’s contestants, Dani Dyer. True story.
Anyway, maybe Chessington aside, the point is that a reactive marketing strategy – one that’s based on popular trends and talking points – can indeed be fruitful.
Again, this boils down to a shrewd understanding of a target audience, and the ability to quickly (yet thoughtfully) tap into timely events.
Keep people wanting more
Love Island has mastered the art of anticipation – often leaving viewers with cliff-hangers about what will happen in the next episode.
This is standard practice when it comes to reality television, however ITV2 have also managed to transfer this online, with a clever video strategy that leaves fans wanting more.
On Facebook, it re-purposes content for bitesize and easily shareable videos, encouraging users to tag their friends in posts. It also uses quizzes to engage fans and prompt user interaction.
Elsewhere, it focuses on slightly longer-form clips on YouTube, where its ‘First Look’ series gives fans a sneek peek at what’s to come.
In order to ensure that fans aren’t saturated with the same content as they get on television, ITV2 also utilises social channels for ‘extra content’, i.e. the bits that don’t make it into the final show, but that die-hard fans still want to see.
Together, it makes for a winning multi-channel strategy, and one that cleverly aligns with differing user behaviour on each social channel.
Capitalise on influence
This year, Love Island has more brand sponsors than ever before, with the likes of Primark and Samsung striking deals to produce affiliated products, be featured in the show itself, as well as simply act as ‘ambassadors’ for the show on social.
One of the most interesting partnerships this year is undoubtedly Missguided, which has struck a deal to style the contestants in the villa – and subsequently allow consumers to ‘shop’ the outfits they see on screen. The retailer typically posts items worn by contestants just after the show airs, ensuring maximum interest and exposure.
This ‘as seen on screen’ element is a particularly clever move from Missguided, as it capitalises on the influence of the Love Island contestants before they’ve even left the show (when influencer campaigns typically kick off).
Doing so in the midst of the show’s hype is also likely to generate greater success than post-summer campaigns, when interest and investment from fans has potentially died down.
A clever fusion of influencer marketing and social commerce – Missguided is certainly reaping the benefits of Love Island’s seemingly unstoppable success.
Love Island Section on @Missguided is amazing. All the girls outfits and bikinis. Dani’s cute orange outfit is what I’m living for
— G (@xGeorgieeeeee) June 16, 2018