As 5 million viewers tuned in to watch Love Island kick off its eighth season, the anticipation of another drama-filled summer is in full swing.
In an age where broadcast television is at odds with large streaming platforms, this hit show is ITV’s golden child – poised to bring in huge viewership, and promises of big followings and sponsorships for cast members.
So, as the most talked-about show of the summer, how has Love Island shaped and changed the influencer marketing industry?
To find out, we decided to take a deeper dive into what makes this show so influential…
To provide context, Love Island is a dating show where a group of individuals are placed in a villa to embark on a summer of dating, romance, and ultimately, relationships.
The allure of appearing on the show is plentiful. Not only is there £50,000 up for grabs, but also the opportunity to fall in love and spend the summer in a luxury Mallorcan villa.
For the contestants, a select few will generate massive followings from the exposure – typically the cast members that manage to stay in the villa the longest and score the most screen time.
While the stars earn approximately £200 a week to appear on the show, the real money lies in the consequent brand deals that come after.
Many of the Love Island stars use the show as a platform to launch their personal brand, with a number of contestants developing hugely successful careers across modelling, public appearances, brand partnerships and mainly, social media.
But this isn’t just all up to chance. ITV carefully curates the perfect cast, selecting people who are ‘ready-made influencers’. From the beginning, despite not having control of their social media, cast members’ Instagrams are verified before being flooded with villa pictures, story updates, meme reposts and Q&As to draw viewers to their social pages to learn more about them.
At the same time, ITV chooses a sponsor that aligns with the brand, often a clothing line.
While this year has seen the show move toward a more sustainably conscious brand with eBay, previous years have seen the likes of fast-fashion brands, such as Missguided and I Saw it First sponsoring the programme.
According to a study by Social Media Explorer, 92% of customers are more likely to trust an individual (influencer) over a brand. As such, brands are well aware of the power of harnessing influencers to promote their company, and ITV is well-positioned to facilitate that growth.
For the fast-fashion brand Missguided, the success was huge. After sponsoring the show and sending clothes to the villa for all the cast members to wear on screen, the brand reported an astronomical 9,000 per cent increase in sales driven by Love Island alone.
With stars like Dani Dyer and Megan Barton Hanson wearing their clothes, demand soared as buyers across the country sought out their looks.
For the cast members themselves, Love Island presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve stardom almost overnight. While many cast members don’t make it beyond their 15 minutes, a select few create massively successful careers.
Past contestants like Molly-Mae Hague have made a name for themselves. Now boasting over 6 million followers on Instagram alone, her huge influence landed her the role of Creative Director at fast-fashion powerhouse, Pretty Little Thing. And with her Instagram following and subsequent influence, the star can charge an impressive estimated £18k per post.
Last year’s winner, Millie Court has also garnered big success for herself. Currently boasting almost 2 million followers on Instagram, the 25-year-old signed a multi-million fashion deal with the brand she used to work for as a Buyer’s Assistant, ASOS.
While many shows struggle to maintain viewership and stay on the air, Love Island has cracked the code, distributing a reality show on traditional media that is super-charged for a socially and technologically connected generation.
By harnessing the power of digital influence, Love Island has curated a new TV format, shaping the cast members themselves into the ideal influencer and featuring brands during the advertisement breaks that meet the target demographic.
As trailblasers for digital-first television, Love Island has showcased the power and scale influencers have, and how harnessing them can bring huge benefits to brands and influencers alike.
So as season eight kicks into full gear, would you have your try at entering the villa?