By Saskia Collins: For the past seven weeks each night many of us have found ourselves gravitating towards our living room sofas like clockwork at 9pm to watch Love Island. The programme has had us laughing out loud and, at times, we have even found it pulling at our heart strings. Although older generations also couldn’t resist the guilty pleasure, the 16-24 age bracket unsurprisingly formed the bulk of Love Island’s loyal fan base. One element of the Love Island PR machine that stood out was its use of social media with its official Twitter handle @LoveIsland providing constant updates and previews to the latest scandals going down in the villa.
Going head-to-head with rival reality TV show Big Brother, which aired at the same time, Love Island certainly won the battle for the nation’s attention. Big Brother has suffered from a gradual decline in viewership, while Love Island has captured audiences’ attention by providing content that they could directly engage with. With the show in its third season, ITV2 saw a massive 86% YOY uplift in viewers aged 16-34 and with the majority being digitally-savvy, ITV also saw the opportunity to engage with the millennials in their own language: social media.
One hour a day, six days a week viewers were left wanting more, and Facebook pages such as ‘Love Island Reactions’ reeled in 659K likes with users eager to express their feelings using the Facebook tool to ‘react’ to comical or serious moments that went on in the villa.
With social mentions of the show reaching nearly 7 million over the course of the series, Love Island was a constantly trending phenomenon. South London grime artist Stormzy even felt the need to take to Twitter to voice his views on the action before receiving his very own cameo in one episode – a clever way to maximise the profile of arguably the biggest urban artist of the moment. His influential social media presence provoked 55,000 mentions of Love Island from a single tweet highlighting that Olivia was getting a little “too big for her boots”.
The Love Island App, where fans voted for their favourite couples and contestants racked up high engagement levels by providing fans with exclusive selfies taken by the Love Island contestants as well as preview clips. Fans were even able to feel one step closer to contestants by being able to purchase the customised water bottles each person had in the villa: brand ‘Love Island’ had truly arrived.
Brands have even engaged with Love Island to appeal to their customers, with Gordon’s gin using one of the show’s infamous catchphrases ‘100% my type on paper’ in a tweet to consumers. Primark also jumped on the bandwagon with the sale of slogan t-shirts which have sold over 170,000 products. Cynics could even highlight that Stormzy’s involvement with the show further highlights how important it has been for millennial culture this summer.
It’s safe to say many will find themselves lost in a Love Island limbo without their daily dose of snakey movements, muggy contestants and someone claiming that yet another boy is 100% their type on paper. As a nation we will need to pull together with the strength of “Jason Staythumb”, perhaps even “rap a bit to lift the mood” and take solace from the fact that the next fad show is almost certainly around the corner.