One week ago today, Jack Fincham and Dani Dyer – daughter of Eastenders actor Danny Dyer – won the nation’s hearts and became this years Love Island winners and each walked away with £25,000 in their pockets. As they and their fellow islanders return back from the villa to the UK, they can expect to make up to hundreds of thousands of pounds in TV deals and endorsements. However, they aren’t they only ones who are set to make big money. This year, ITV increased their official sponsors of Love Island from an already crowded 5 up to a staggering 10 – citing Love Island to be their biggest commercial property ever. Superdrug, the show’s main sponsor, returned this year along with Primark and The Ministry Of Sound. The Ministry Of Sound also returned and made a cameo appearance on one of the episodes along with Leeds music producer Tom Zanetti, whilst also offering a Love Island Summer Party album based around the programme. Some of the brands joining these big names include Jet2, Samsung, Rimmel London, Missguided, Kellogg’s and Lucozade Zero. Primark created several clothing items based around famous phrases from this years series, such as t-shirts displaying one this year’s most recognisable sayings – “#Loyal”. But with 10 brands competing for attention at the villa, just how loyal can the show be to any of them?
In trying to turn the heads of potential customers, some of the sponsorships have gone much further than simple product placement but have become integral to Love Island’s entire set up. Samsung in particular is one brand that has managed to successfully embed itself in the lives of the islanders and become part of the show, rather than an extension of it. By tying itself to one of the shows most recognisable elements, “I’ve got a text!”. Every episode, we see the contestants receive text messages and use their phones to communicate with each other as well as take pictures. These are all done with the use of Samsung’s latest mobile phone model, and uploaded to their social channels – something we all do every day, it feels normal and despite a little bit of branding is fairly seamless. The pictures taken by the islanders throughout the series are also uploaded to the Love Island app, to further demonstrate the products camera capabilities and fuel conversation by viewers being able to comment and share the images across their own social media channels.
The show has seen a year on year sharp increase in viewers tuning in daily to see which of the islanders is going to stay loyal, get mugged off or have their heads turned. This is all thanks to the attraction the show has towards the 16-34 age bracket. This age group more than any other are most likely to watch their viewing material online or through subscription services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. This makes the fact that Love Island attracts 16-34 year olds in their millions extremely attractive to potential sponsors. The show by its very nature encourages engagement amongst its audience through in-app voting polls to save viewers’ favourite couple. It therefore encourages engagement amongst the sponsors own target market by making them discuss the products seen within the programme. For example, Superdrug, reported a 112% year-on-year rise in suncare sales and a huge increase in conversation around Solait when islander Charlie sprayed himself with Solait Shimmering Oil Spray.
Reality TV stars today are most definitely not in short supply with a conveyor belt of similar shows, nor are brand partnerships or products on the market. Therefore, it’s important that brands recognise the potential short life span of interest amongst those who have exitted the villa. Striking whilst the iron is hot and when public interest is at its highest is the best sure way for a brands sponsorship to be most effective. However, brands must be wary that their sponsorship is authentic and that the contestant they are partnering up with pair up well their company’s core values. The pairing needs to feel authentic to be successful. If it’s ineffective, it has the potential to be detrimental to the brand as consumers will see right through it.
With this series being the highest in sponsorships so far, looking into next year brands will need to be keep up the pace and create unmissable experiences for not only the villa and the contestants, but also the doting public. It’s important now, more so than ever for brands to have more than just a presence. Customers want an experience that they can connect with as we start to declutter and simplify our lives, we come to the realisation of what’s important and creating relationships that ultimately last.