25th July 2017

Does Love Island owe its success to social media?

It’s captured the hearts of everyone from politicians to pop stars, inspired clothing lines and even created a brand new dialect. Whether you love it or just secretly love it, you won’t have been able to ignore the TV sensation that is Love Island.

Fans (most likely reading this wearing a ‘100% my type on paper’ T-shirt and wondering what they’re going to do tonight at 9pm) may be surprised to discover that Love Island first graced our screens back in 2005. Think the Love Island we know and love, except swap out 12 extremely good looking ‘normal’ people for 12 extremely good looking celebrities. However the show didn’t perform and only lasted for two series before failing to measure up to Channel 4 rival, Big Brother and being axed.

So why, just over ten years later, when young people allegedly don’t watch TV anymore, has Love Island become come such a cultural phenomenon?

Could the answer be as simple as social media?

It’s no secret that Love Island has been a social media success, a near permanent Twitter trend with a combined social following of over 2M and tonnes of influencer engagement as celebrity fans share their thoughts to millions of followers.  But have we been looking at it the wrong way round? Could Love Island’s social media activity be the reason it has been so successful, in particular with millennials who live their lives online?

Love Island has embraced social media as not just an additional communication channel but an extension of the show itself. By incorporating popular tweets into tasks, using hashtags in texts to the islanders and showing unseen footage and sneak peaks across social channels, they’ve managed to blur the line between digital and traditional media and it seems to be a winning combination.

What can brands learn from this?

Watching TV and scrolling through social media aren’t mutually exclusive. Whilst a TV episode may last 30-90 minutes, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram keep the conversation going long after the episodes are over. The popularity of accounts such as ‘Love Island Reactions’ shows that there is a real appetite for entertaining opinions and observations amongst TV viewers.

Brands have a captive audience ready and waiting for them on social media. All they need to do is think of authentic and inventive ways of providing content to capture their attention.

Last night’s final saw just that, from Iceland Foods, when they hosted a ‘#LoveIceland’ party. Instead of just jumping on a popular hashtag, they added their own relevant voice to the conversation. Responding to social media influencer, Zoella, calling for a winter edition of the show called ‘Love Iceland’, Iceland put out a series of tweets throughout the final.

Here are some more of our favourites…

By Emma Glicher, Junior Consumer Account Executive