The Real Thing? – A Summary of Love Conquers All: The unrivalled influence of ITV2’s Love Island
"Only genuine relationships work because the audience will call you out” – states Love Island 2018 contestant Wes Nelson. Claire Heys, Director of Brand Partnerships makes clear that this theme extends beyond the interpersonal relationships of the contestants. “If it grips the nation, it’s viable. Creative campaigns have to give something back,” making it clear that only meaningful commercial partnerships are worth pursuing.
Brands are becoming increasingly integrated with the show. Missguided adorn the contestants, Samsung provides phones, Rimmel has hosted a ‘Tattoo Party’ for which Echo Falls supplied a “minimal amount of alcohol”, and main sponsor Superdrug supplies the sunscreen. If a brand wasn’t brave, it was either refused or pushed to be more ambitious – Kellogg’s sponsor of ‘The Morning After’ Podcast being an addition to proposed ‘on pack’ branding.
ITV must also look after their own brand. This year saw the removal of smoking from our screens – something Executive Producer Tom Gould says was “an easy decision” given the reach and influence of the show.
And it’s not just the show’s makers who are concerned with branding – the contestants themselves are hyper-aware that their every move will be scrutinised and could enhance or damage their own personal ‘brand’. Tom mentions that contestants are de-briefed and provided after-care by a press team on leaving the show.
Speaking about her work since leaving the Villa, contestant Megan Barton-Hanson mentions how she and the other contestants have been given an “amazing opportunity, not just to be famous but to do good”. “A positive message can save people’s lives” Wes adds. Since exiting the villa, Megan has voiced her opinion on several women’s issues – something that earns her a deserved shout out and warm round of applause from the audience.
It’s clear that we are entering ‘The New Era of Influence’, and one thing is certain - with great influence, comes great responsibility.