People & Culture

Everyone’s favourite British dating show is back for a summer of love, brand deals and popcorn-eating, eyes-peeling, anticipation-building DRAMA. Ten new singles have entered the Love Island villa, hoping to win the hearts of the nation over the course of a six-to-eight week long series. 

Love Island is a cultural phenomenon in the UK, with viewers tuning in six nights a week at 9pm, eagerly anticipating the next conflict, connection and challenge the islanders will face. Many viewers couple the experience of watching the show by following the conversation on Twitter via the #LoveIsland hashtag. Reading other people’s real time reactions to the show enhances the viewing experience, even when events have not yet heated up. 

Last year’s edition saw just shy of 3 million tweets over the course of the series, with 76% of the conversation taking place between 9-11pm, as users live tweeted their reactions to on-screen events. 

Looking beyond the live tweeting time slot, Reddit and TikTok are other avenues brands can explore to add another dimension of content to their marketing strategy. 

Reddit has more recently become a second home for Love Island discourse, with a newly announced partnership the result of a 52% increase in subscribers and a 140% increase in engagement on the Love Island subreddit. Meanwhile, TikTok creators like @muradmurali and @cocosarel are raking in thousands of views every day as fans flock to their channels awaiting the latest debrief of the night’s events. 

Here we will detail strategies for participating in these real time conversations, ensuring your brand lands the humour, kills it in the comments, and generally gets it right so you can drive engagement and positive sentiment. 

We will also show how brands can use social listening to predict future trends by demonstrating how our tools can indicate a rise or fall in the popularity of islanders on the show. Of course, these predictions will be caveated by islanders altering their behaviour which will impact their perception from the viewers at home. 

Love Island 2021: The Highlights

Looking at last season’s conversation drivers, there were four key Love Island moments that drove the Twittersphere wild. Brands should pay special attention to these moments this year in order to ride the wave of social discourse. It is crucial brands understand the social conversation around these moments before reacting to them in order to create the most culturally relevant content.  

  1. Recoupling Ceremonies

The suspense of waiting to find out whether islanders will stay in their couple or choose to re-couple is always a major talking point. Hugo Hammond’s jaw dropping recoupling speech in which he hit out at Toby Aromolaran sent Twitter into a frenzy (82.2K tweets). Hugo had built up a reputation for being the quiet, nice guy in the villa and there he was, standing up and deciding enough was enough. The unexpectedness of the moment and a thirst for drama is what fueled this reaction from fans. 

Missguided capitalised on the moment, announcing Toby as the newest member of ‘Destiny’s Chaldish’, a term coined in Season 5 for guys who are known for their childish love antics. Brands can look to create reactive content based on talk-worthy events in recouplings. If your brand is closely associated with the show, using in-the-know terminology will support driving engagement. Brands not so closely linked to the show can use moments which can more broadly relate to the brand, such as using Anton Danyluk’s hilarious reaction to not getting picked in a recoupling in Season 5. 

  1. Islander Dumpings

After Brad McClelland and Lucinda Strafford were voted the least compatible couple by the public, the producers introduced a twist in which one of the pair could remain in the villa. Fans often find these moments amusing because if the relationship was strong enough surely the couple would leave together… right?? Well unlike most dating shows, islanders may come onto the show with other intentions, such as to secure the yearly Boohoo x Love Island sponsorship deal. Fans immediately saw past Lucinda’s attempt to appear upset about Brad’s decision to leave and encourage her stay, as they applauded her acting skills in wearing a black hoodie to mourn the loss of her three-to-four day relationship (52K tweets). 

Lucinda explained how she and Brad were “literally having Special K with raspberries, and now he’s gone”. Situations like this provide brands with an opportunity to build upon a fun, light hearted moment that viewers were already discussing, via the #LoveIsland hashtag. 

  1. Explosive Arguments 

Islanders having a go at each other can either draw in humour or sympathy depending on the level of the argument. 

Brands have often used these moments to show appreciation. This can ensure that you’re avoiding any backlash that humour may cause if perceived in the wrong way. 

Faye Winter was a key instigator in arguments, however, these tended to be over-the-top causing concern amongst viewers. One moment in particular saw her lash out at partner Teddy Soares, generating a flurry of reactions from fans condemning the behaviour and pointing out the level of aggression her insecurities tend to create (97.5K mentions). 

Love Island has come under fire several times for placing the contestants in volatile situations and risking mental wellbeing. Brands should on the whole steer clear of commentary around these incidents, or risk being seen as insensitive. 

  1. Casa Amor 

Casa Amor acts as a twist in the format, splitting the couples up and sending the boys into a second villa where they will meet 5 new female islanders to test their loyalty before returning to the main villa where a new set of boys are also introduced to the girls. The special re-coupling ceremony, known as “Stick or Twist”, is the peak moment of the series, with fans highly anticipating the islanders’ decisions to either stick with their original couple or re-couple with one of the new islanders. (119.4K mentions). 

Liam Reardon and Millie Court independently decided to stay together in last season’s re-coupling ceremony, but what was meant to be a jubilant celebration soured after Casa Amor contest Lillie Haynes revealed Liam’s love antics in Casa Amor

Footasylum, who typically average 5 engagements per tweet, reacted to the moment Liam returned to the villa using a clip which encapsulated the feeling viewers had and drove 209 engagements. 

Favorability of Contestants 

Brands can use social listening to predict future trends by revealing meaningful insights into how people currently think and how that will evolve over time. Using the islanders as a case study, we can predict who will win Love Island based on how often they are talked about and how positive their mentions are. 

Oftentimes the winner of Love Island is someone who enters the show from day 1, with the increased air time and personal growth exhibited endearing them to this audience. Looking at 2021, we can see Liberty Poole was a clear favourite early on, with fans obsessed with her friendship with Kaz and how sweet Liberty came across. 

Ironically, Liberty’s only downfall came about due to her relationship with Jake Cornish. Liberty averaged a 42% positive sentiment over the course of the show, surpassing eventual winners Millie Court (37%) and Liam Reardon (31%). Had her relationship been stronger she would have been a shoo-in to win. 

Looking at the current crop of islanders, we can see that Indiyah Polack (45% positive sentiment) is exhibiting signs that would indicate a clear chance of winning Love Island. The fact that she generated the third most mentions (23K mentions) in week 1 despite limited airtime goes to show if she can develop a strong relationship she will no doubt go deep into the competition. 

Being able to track how viewers talk about the islanders can be done across any brand interest points, such as sustainable fashion in the case of eBay. It is too early to predict a clear winner of Love Island, but social listening can help identify key themes in conversation that indicate a strong opportunity for success. 

Evolution of Audience Demands

In an effort to ditch its fast fashion image and be more eco-friendly, Love Island announced a partnership with eBay which would see the islanders wear ‘pre-loved clothes’ this season. People have become more conscious of what they buy, with consumers across generations willing to spend more for sustainable products. Ebay data shows that an estimated 20% of Brits now buy more pre-loved items than they did in 2020. 

eBay x Love Island

This expectation from viewers marks an evolution in the genre of brands that are appealing to the Love Island audience. This signals a new opportunity for these brands, who previously may have been brushed aside in favour of the Missguideds of our world. As seasons progress, so does Love Island’s audience, and brands must pay attention to this ongoing shift in consumer demands to ensure their content is relevant and effective.

Identifying The Right Influencer

For brands looking to partner with influencers, whether that be the islanders from the show or beyond, social listening can help create a holistic view of the influencer identification process in order to partner with people who have a positive public perception and avoid any pitfalls along the way. 

Chloe Burrows is a great example of an islander that went from most hated to most loved. In her first two weeks on Love Island, Chloe averaged a 24% positive sentiment score compared to an average of 52% positive sentiment in her last two weeks. At first, viewers judged Chloe for being “annoying” and “devious” but soon recognised her humorous side. She provided the show with excellent “one liners” and “facial expressions”, even demonstrating more maturity as the series progressed. 

Consider the characteristics that best reflect your brand’s values when looking to partner with influencers. Chloe’s fun-loving personality embodies the brand she decided to ‘couple up with’ upon leaving the villa, JD. Having shopped at JD since she was a kid, Chloe demonstrates a level of authenticity often missing from brand deals, one that is increasingly important amongst a Gen Z audience

Love Island is a playground for brands to uncover reactive opportunities and identify influencers that will share your values and come across as authentic. Brands that get it right will be seen as culturally relevant, fun and on the pulse of what fans are already looking for every night from 9-11pm.