5 Marketing Lessons from Love Island

— Bella Foxwell 

How much do I adore thee, Love Island? Let me count the ways…

I could rattle on all day about my unnatural obsession with ITV2’s perfect alchemy of cosmetic surgery, bootypack microphones, thigh-cinching white jeans and idioms I’ve grown to love - ‘muggy’, ‘on paper’ and ‘got a TEXT!’ – and begun incorporating into my own lexicon. But I will limit said obsession to one blog post – and a very active Whatsapp group…  

If you’re one of the few people who haven’t high-jumped on the bandwagon, there’s still time to rectify that error. There really is no point pretending you’re above it. Nobody is above Love Island. Just look at this year’s unlikely addition, Camilla Did-You-Know-What-You-Were-Signing-Up-For Thurlow, for proof.

The reality is that beyond style inspo and dating etiquette, there is much to learn from Love Island. I will spare you the Flirting 101: How Not To guide and offer you these 5 marketing lessons instead. You can thank me later.

Keep Messaging Consistent

Bad behaviour is ‘muggy’, to forget who’s number one is to ‘put all your eggs in one basket’, and to be ‘pied’ is a fate worse than death. The islanders communicate in a language all of their own that is not only meme gold, but consistent. We know exactly how Chris feels when he sneers at Mike from across the fire pit and quips under his breath: Muggy Mike. We subtly nod our head in agreement when Amber protests – again – that the super-tanned Ken Doll Kem is her type ‘on paper’. We get it. And that’s without understanding any of the other gibberish they come out with.

Grow a Community

Imagine a brand’s customers coming to work every morning buzzing to discuss said brand with their colleagues. Excited? At work? Yes – during the months of June and July each year, Love Island unites co-workers, friends and family like nothing else. Scintillating conversations about the UK’s unpredictable weather in the office kitchen have been replaced with wide-eyed debate about the islanders’ behaviour the night before.

By creating a show that is both entertaining and relatable, Love Island has achieved the impossible – built a community that spans demographics.   

Build the Hype

Leaking shock twists and ending on cliff-hangers means that when the credits roll at 22:01, 21:01 the following day feels a lifetime away. It means that my colleagues and I have factored in a ten-minute debrief every morning to run through exactly which couple we think is next to be voted off the island and back into reality. It also, rather embarrassingly, sparks outrage that there isn’t an episode on Saturdays. Love Island has long-term engagement down. 

Optimise Multiple Channels

‘Make your content work harder’. We hear it daily – but what does it mean? It means repurposing quality material into memes, gifs and quotes across every channel that makes sense for the brand. ITV2’s yoof audience can catch Agony Uncle Marcel’s snippets of wisdom across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and a dedicated app at the same time as he works his magic on screen. Target audience engaged: Ding! Ding! Ding!

Some clients will tell you an app simply isn’t necessary. To them I say: have you seen the personalised plastic water bottle that you can order off the Love Island app? I rest my case.

Make the Most of Video

As if the television show wasn’t enough (it’s not FYI), Love Island’s YouTube channel is another place for fans to get their fix in short, sweet, digestible clips. So what?

Consumers love video. I might have seen the full episode – twice – and yet rewatching and sharing a hilarious snippet with friends the following day doesn’t get old. Everywhere you look – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube – the videos have hundreds of comments and thousands of views. Chopping, editing and repurposing the television show into fresh, standalone content reaches more people, amplifies brand messaging and extends the life of a campaign. And die-hard fans can’t get enough. 

Still not convinced? I implore you to cancel your plans, stick a bowl of popcorn in the microwave and settle down to see these marketing lessons in raunchy, high-pitched, ‘extra’ action. Tonight, ITV2, 9pm.