It’s the show that has swept the nation. Homes across the British Isles have been tuning in nightly to watch boys and girls (or are they men and women?) battle it out for true love. It has lead to the creation of a new language; ‘grafting’, ‘putting it on’ and ‘on paper’ are now popular terms. How has a show so simple, so obvious and so basic captured the mind (and hearts) of so many people?
Stormzy, Adele and Jeremy Corbyn are amongst many celebrity fans, and even Liam F***** Gallagher is an outspoken island-lover.
Why is it so popular?
As obvious as it may be, Love Island is the paradise that seduces us away from our raining-in-July miserable lives. Its timing is impeccable; during the day we scroll twitter feeds filled with Brexit gloom, predictions of global downfall, ice shelves falling off and general complicated misery. To counter all of that, we have been gifted one hour a night of pure, unfiltered, muscle-filled, breast-bouncing escapism. It requires no thought, no prior knowledge and very little commitment. As our girl Gwen said, it really is the sweetest escape.
The producers play God and change the rules constantly in attempts to make good TV; it’s reactionary production at its best. For example, a few weeks ago a second villa was unveiled and briefly hosted the boys with a whole flurry of new females, but it didn’t do wonders for the dramas that people tune in for so was quickly scrapped. Similarly, the producers can make ‘the hideaway’ aka the only private place where people can shag available on a whim, when things need spicing up. The recent ‘lie detector’ episode was a classic injection of spice as it apparently revealed the truth behind the couples’ ‘love’.
Keeping Up Momentum
The show has been extended for a week due its popularity and paraphernalia around the show continues to increase; Aftersun, hosted by Caroline Flack provides even more guilty pleasure for true fans, the official Love Island app keeps wannabe islander’s entertained at all times of the day, the playlist pulls together the throwback tunes that decorate the show, you can now buy the actual Love Island water bottle and there are even rumours of an LGBT based spin-off.
2016’s Love Island finale pulled in 1.35million viewers, not only doubling 2015’s records but also beating Big Brother and cementing itself as a reality show with power. This year Big Brother has confirmed that the final will be aired four whole days after the Love Island finale in an attempt to flog a dead horse, showing that the reality show crown has definitely been passed on. Love Island 2017 regularly attracts 2 million visitors a night and recently enjoyed a whopping 2.4 sets of oogling eyeballs for an episode in which not one, not two but three couples did the dirty. Turns out, sex sells.
A New Wave of Influencers
Where does all our guilty indulgence of these youths in their prime leave them at the end of the show? Of course, as a brand new suite of influencers ready to push everything from fake-tan to club nights to their quickly acquired and impressively voluminous audiences.
Last year’s islanders were effectively used by WhiteWash Laboratories – which isn’t as ominous as it sounds – it’s an oral care brand that released a nano range of whitening products and did so very intelligently. Rather than try and hit up a Kardashian or a Middleton to wax lyrical about nano toothpaste on Instagram, WhiteWash approached multiple smaller celebs such as those recently returned from the Island of Love.
As well as the local nature of the influencers, WhiteWash also nailed it by capturing audiences that are not just large, but engaged. While they were not major stars, they were on people’s minds and particularly the kind of people WhiteWash wanted to sell to. The campaign was immensely successful, WhiteWash’s Instagram following increased by almost 100% leading to a retail partnership with Boots….not bad for a bunch of rising reality stars birthed from ITV2.
As the show comes to a close next week, the obsession over the contestants is just about to begin. Jessica Shears who was booted off the show on the 21st June has already taken to the influencer life. Together with her partner in crime, Dom Lever (on-island and now off-island boyfriend), they have produced some phenomenal #spon.
Whether you’re a keen follower, a proud hater or simply indifferent (yeah right) – one thing that can be agreed on is that Love Island has done something right. In a post Big Brother world, it has brought the classic reality TV format back and launched a new breed of influencer: The relatable, emotional, local and ripped soon to be ex-islanders.