How Love Island's sponsors are shaking up the villa
ITV’s behemoth reality dating show Love Island returned last night (Monday, June 6) for its eighth series, racking up an average of 2.4m live viewers and peaking at 3m. The show's many sponsors will be relieved to see it has retained its appeal. Here's who those sponsors are and how they are integrating.
ITV's Love Island returns - but who are this year's sponsors?
Among Love Island's more traditional sponsors like Boots and O2 Virgin Media, this year ITV made headlines by inking deals with eBay and the online forum Reddit.
Last year the broadcaster raked in a hefty £73m for Love Island’s eight-week run, largely through deals with the likes of Spotify, JD Sports, Just Eat, Tinder, WKD, Cloud Nine, and Wrigley’s Extra.
Who are Love Island’s series eight sponsors?
This year ITV turned heads by ditching its typical fast fashion sponsors and opting to tie with the second-hand retailer eBay. Since the show kicked off in 2015 the villa has been stocked with new clothes from online retailers Misguided and I Saw It First, but this year the singletons will be wearing pre-owned garments.
Eve Williams, chief marketing officer at eBay UK, said: “We are such an unexpected partner to Love Island, which is what we believe makes us an even more impactful pairing. We have been really pleased by the reaction to the partnership so far.”
To promote its sponsorship, eBay has pushed out a supporting campaign to showcase the benefits of pre-worn clothing.
Online forum Reddit was another unusual partner for ITV. Reddit will have exclusivity over direct fan interaction with the contestants and producers. Reddit sought out a slice of sponsorship after its r/LoveIslandTV fan page saw subscribers increase by 52% during series seven and a 140% increase in user engagement over the same period.
The partnership integrates existing Reddit trends into behind-the-scenes content, getting fans to ‘Ask Me Anything’ and use ‘Upvote/Downvote’ what they see.
Boots returned to sponsor a second series after touting an impressive 61% sales uplift during its series seven sponsorship deal. The beauty retailer used last night’s debut to kick off its own summer campaign, launching its ‘Summer Better Be Ready’ TV spot during Love Island’s ad break.
Speaking to The Drum, Boots chief marketing officer Pete Markey said Love Island is still “must-see TV and still watched mostly live,” which makes it a unique offering. He said most sponsorships are “passive” - just placing idents and logos within a show - “but what I love about Love Island is that our products feature in the show”. He added: “What makes Love Island so brilliant and so unique is that it's a properly immersive experience for people and if you like what you see you can shop immediately.”
This season, ITV introduced its first home and garden sponsor, having tied with the garden screen company Screen With Envy. Screen With Envy has kitted out the garden and pool area of the villa. As a relatively new brand (launched in 2017), Screen with Envy will capitalize on its Love Island exposure by launching its debut TV ad and ramping up its social strategy.
Its founder Sophie Birkert said she’ll be monitoring brand uplift and social growth throughout the series and using the Love Island metrics to feed into expansion plans. She told The Drum: “Success for us is about delivering the most beautiful villa ever and building what we hope can become an ongoing and long-term partnership with Love Island.”
Elsewhere, O2 Virgin Media inked a deal with Love Island as part of its wider long-term ‘Roam Freely’ campaign. The telecoms firm has leveraged its existing ‘Roam Freely’ marketing from VCCP London to feed into its Love Island sponsorship, placing campaign mascot Bubl into the villa.