Love at First Swipe – is Love Island the Future of Influencer Marketing?

Love at First Swipe – is Love Island the Future of Influencer Marketing?

10th August, 2018 by Pippa Chester

This year, along with 4 million others, I was hooked on Love Island’s fourth series. Suspiciously orange contestants grafted, groomed and gyrated their way into our lives, and I was quick to raise my eyebrows to anyone who dismissed it as trash.

Crucially, about half of the audience were typically hard-to-reach 16-34 year-olds, with ITV claiming Love Island was one of this year’s most popular television series among younger people.

The show’s establishment as a cultural phenomenon has opened the doors for brands to reach their target audience by aligning with social platforms such as Instagram, which mirror the audience demographic. As an avid Instagrammer and in the hard-to-reach category myself, I’m frequently targeted with sponsored posts for teeth whitening deals, face masks and liquid illuminator (what even is that?)

Millennials aren’t daft, and when a brand doesn’t have an obvious alignment with an influencer, the partnership appears artificial. To reach their audience in a way that will actually resonate, brands must be selective and ensure that there is natural synergy between their positioning and an influencer’s overall ‘brand’. What’s their message? What’s their content? How can your brand be part of that conversation in a way that doesn’t feel forced? One example is our recent work with Alpro and BOSH! to launch the world’s first Plant Power Day. Why? Because BOSH! is the biggest and fastest-growing plant-based food channel whose mantra is ‘eat more plants’. Alpro is the biggest and fastest-growing plant-based food brand, whose mantra is ‘put plants first’. It’s almost like they were made for each other.

When former contestant Chris Hughes announced his Topman collaboration called L’Eau de Chris, where he appeared to launch bottles of mineral water infused with his tears, I rolled my eyes with the rest of them. But when it was revealed to be a campaign with charity CALM, encouraging men not to bottle up their emotions, I sat up and took notice. What I initially considered to be a profoundly ridiculous product, was in fact a clever partnership leveraging Chris’ profile to deliver a serious message.

With contestants leaving the villa with hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers and set to earn on average £2.3 million over the next five years, there is an undeniable opportunity to explore partnerships to reach the hard-to-reach. However, brands and their influencers must be aligned on their content and messaging to avoid consumers’ sceptical eyes, as they become more aware of the premise of influencer marketing.

I’d advise you to do the same – don’t be a melt now.