Love Island 2018 entices more big brands on board

Love Island is back on ITV2, and the conversation remains as riveting as ever, with stationery supplies taking centre stage and one contestant asking, “What does ‘superficial’ mean?”

But millennial and Gen Z audiences will no doubt be back in their millions to watch the reality show that matches up couples, makes them share a bed, and then films them fumbling under the duvet.

Last year, audiences were up 73 per cent to two million, and the hype around the 2018 show is likely to boost viewing figures again this year.

While the content of the show remains resolutely lowbrow – the girls in the opening episode avoided being paired with heroic A&E doctor Alex because his fake tan wasn’t up to scratch – the advertising has gone up market, as brands scramble to reach the millions of young viewers who, at any other time of the year, are more inclined to watch Netflix than live TV.

Superdrug is still the headline sponsor and has come back with a load of Love Island merchandise – suncream, towels, water bottles – which last year viewers repeatedly searched for but nobody had thought to produce.

A new level of blue chip, big budget commercials have joined Love Island for 2018, with Calvin Klein, Ikea, Cadbury’s and Asda joined by big financial services companies Lloyds (perhaps the horses-on-the-beach theme was thought to be appropriate) and Halifax. Nissan and Seat brought cars into the mix, while Microsoft and Sony Bravia represented the tech companies.

H&M has joined budget online clothing brands Missguided and Pretty Little Thing (who were big 2017 advertisers), while Unilever – which advertised Magnum ice cream and Tresemmé hair care on a loop last year – taken a back seat, leaving room for Nestlé’s Haagen-Dazs Procter & Gamble’s Pantene to dominate ad breaks. McDonald’s is back, but this time rival Burger King has also bought air time in the show.

New for this year is the daily morning podcast called “The morning after,” sponsored by Kellogg’s, which excitedly dissects all the gossip from the night before.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former London Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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