Many Brits looking for a bit of escapism this summer tuned into “Love Island”, the show that gathers a group of twentysomethings at a Spanish villa, matches them up and puts them through meaningless challenges in the pursuit of true love. What might sound like a distasteful, niche production had millions of us enraptured by the summer’s biggest rating puller for viewers aged 16-24. This young audience meant the show was naturally accompanied by a strong social media presence; provoking 974k #loveisland tweets and counting. Brands were quick to piggyback the phenomenon by referencing it in their conversations with shoppers.
Dripping in luxurious surroundings, unlimited sunshine and poolside relaxation, the show had its audience daydreaming about their next holiday – an effect that did not go unnoticed by STA Travel, who quick-wittedly Tweeted responses to on-screen moments that appeared relevant to its proposition.
Fashion brands played an even bigger part in the Love Island conversation. Each Monday our Twitter feed became flooded with memes and polls concerning the show. Brands with Millenials as their target audience were particularly eager; Pretty Little Thing, Boohoo, and Missguided to name but a few. As consumers ranted about the latest couple to be ‘dumped’ off the island, or celebrated when new boys arrived, these companies joined in every step of the way; creating the sense that they truly understood and related to their shoppers.
The lengths to which some were prepared to go in grabbing a piece of the Love Island action was underlined by the season finale – even brands with no obvious compatability with the programme showing an interest. National Express’s competition, which asked viewers to guess the winning couple, was surely one of the more mind-boggling attempts to climb on board the bandwagon.
Fashion brands #grafting up the right tree
While some brands just wanted to be part of the conversation, others took the opportunity to monetise. On the day the finale aired, Primark sold over 170,000 official “Love Island” T-shirts adorned with catchphrases made popular by the show.
And whilst Primark was one of the first to jump at the chance, others quickly followed suit – New Look, Missguided, and Boohoo all releasing their own slogan t-shirts shortly afterwards. The latter two even managed to promote their fashion credentials by putting their own spin on the more monotone print versions sold elsewhere. Then, as the hype surrounding these slogan shirts built, Primark went a step further by using a Twitter poll to allow shoppers to vote for their next design.
Beyond the realm of t-shirts, others used different tactics to monetise. First, Missguided posted pictures of dumped islander Jess wearing their product. Then River Island’s email gave their designs a little reflected glory by mimicking the islanders’ style and dubbing the items ‘must-haves’.
As the last show arrived, the final opportunity for fashion brands also dawned, and it soon became clear that things were to end as they started. Along with the excitement of finding out who would be crowned the winning couple, their came the dreaded realisation that the show was coming to an end (until next year *sob*). So in stepped Primark with a t-shirt to celebrate (or mourn) the end of the season; a last gesture that truly secured the brand’s status as the number one Love Island opportunist.
SEE HOW INSTAGRAM INFLUENCERS BECOME SAVVY BRANDS' BEST FRIENDS