What is Love Island?

Love Island is a constructed reality TV show, broadcast over 2 months on ITV, UK. It involves young, single, male and female contestants living together in a villa cut-off from the outside world, surrounded by hidden cameras. Contestants have to couple-up, re-couple and try to become the ultimate Love Island couple as voted by the public. The winning couple receive £50,000.

Why should marketers care about Love Island?

According to BARB (the highly respected British Audience Research Bureau):

  • Around 58% of viewers are female
  • More than half of viewers are aged between 16 and 34 (also known as millennials and Gen Z)
  • Around half of the audience is in the so-called C2DE bracket - the two lower social and economic groups
  • More than a quarter (29%) of viewers live in the north of England. That's followed by the Midlands (22%) and London (16%)
  • It reached an audience of 6 million at its peak, watching through TV and online
  • It sparks interest and discussion on social media

In other words, for advertises who are aiming at this demographic, it reaches audiences that other shows do not - young, female audiences. These audiences are moving away from TV to streaming services such as Netflix and so it is increasingly difficult for advertisers to reach them.

What does Love Island mean for fashion brands?

The importance of this audience shows in the sponsors of the programme. In 2018, the fashion brand Missguided sponsored the show and the majority of the outfits worn by the contestants (know as islanders) were available to purchase. Missguided have stated that sponsorship boosted sales by 40% compared with the eight weeks prior to the show airing. Some items worn by popular contestants saw an instant 500% sales increase.

For the 2019 show, the fashion brand, I Saw It First, replace Missguided as the fashion sponsor, with the Love Island app allowing viewers to track the clothes and buy directly. Other sponsors included Jet2 Holidays, Samsung for its Galaxy 10 handheld, and Superdrug for sun screen.

For the sponsoring companies, Love Island is an excellent way to reach this audience. However, it does also come with risks. Love Island has been criticised for lack of body diversity, and has been damaged by the recent suicides of two past contestants. ITV is also moving production to 2 shows a year, in a move that could be considered risky: will the show be able to sustain the interest over 2 seasons in a year, rather than as a purely summer show.