Summer 2018 in the UK has been a memorable one. The glorious weather was accompanied by England’s best performing team at a World Cup since Italia 90, (powered by Gareth Southgate’s waistcoat and Harry Maguire memes) which brought the whole nation together like never before and brought some much needed positivity (along with a heap of beer throwing).

Another memorable part of this summer was the Love Island phenomenon, which sweeped the nation and kept people glued to their TV’s just after the world cup matches finished at 9pm. Although the show splits opinion, with many people not impressed by the superficiality and shallowness of some of the contestants, the popularity of the show is unarguable, with over 3.6m Brits tuning in to watch the final. But the success of the show has not only been in the viewing figures. Brands such as Samsung and Missguided who took a gamble on the controversial show, reaped in commercial rewards.

At Trident, we tuned in as well (purely for educational reasons of course!) and we have come up with a few things which we feel brands can learn from the commercial success:

Social First

If you didn’t know already, social media is fast becoming one of the most important parts of a consumers brands’ marketing channels.

The shows social media channels managed to keep their audience engaged even when the show wasn’t on, through the use of funny memes and short clips which would tease what happened previously on the show, or tease the upcoming show. This multi-channel marketing strategy generates FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and keeps the show at the forefront of the audience’s mind at all times.

Product Placement

Most of the contestants were dressed by Missguided or other brands who partnered with Love Island. These product placement were then reinforced again on social media channels to encourage purchases to the engaged audience.

Samsung mobile phones were also given to all the contestant which they all used to take pictures of each other (which were shared onto social media later) and to text each other.

Samsung used this opportunity to further drive brand awareness using paid social campaigns on.

The placement has continued after the contestants leave the villa, where certain brands such as Boohoo and Nando’s have used the social following amassed by the contestants whilst on the show to promote their products.

Product placement has been around for donkey’s years but these brands managed to add another layer to get the most out of their “influencers”

Instagram Is King

Snapchat was the primary channel used in last year’s show. However, the producers made a decision to swap out Snapchat for Instagram. The reason behind this decision, is the recent snapchat re-design which led to a large loss in users and engagement.

Love Island’s official Instagram account almost doubled its audience, which now sits at 2.2m followers, making it the most followed UK show on Instagram, showing that the focus on Instagram was the right call. “As well as posting regularly in the main feed, the Love Island Instagram account uses Stories to direct fans to quizzes, divulge teaser soundbites and share its popular First Look episode teasers, which have brought in roughly 46m views, according to ITV. It proves that, contrary to popular belief, putting content on social media doesn’t cannibalise viewing; the First Look series actually plays a key role in driving viewers to the live show.” (Social Chain, 2018)

The brands partnered with the show such as Missguided and Superdrug also clearly focused their attention on Instagram over other platforms. The use of social media can also drive direct sales, as shown by brand such as Missguided, Rimmel and Superdrug who allowed users to buy their products directly from their Instagram stories by “swiping up”.

A dedicated app with in-app advertisement

Love Island created their own app which brought users latest updates from the island, voting functionality, its own ecommerce function, and a style section where the brand showcased its partnership with Missguided.

The app was downloaded over 2 million times and research by Ogury found that the Love Island app had a higher percentage of active users (76.2%) than big brands like Uber, BBC News and ASOS. More surprisingly, the average users spent more time (8 mins, 9 seconds) on the app than Facebook and Twitter.

Clothing brand Missguided was able to tap into this huge audience by curating the Style section of the app, using scenes from the show to showcase its range of garments. The effect on Missguided sales was clear to see, “an increase in sales of around 40% week on week” (Marketing Week, 2018)

Love Islands popularity is unarguable, with over 3.6m Brits tuning in to watch the final. But the success of the show has not only been in the viewing figures. Brands such as Samsung and Missguided who took a gamble on the controversial show, reaped in commercial rewards.


Whether you are a small local brand or a large multinational, you can take inspiration from some of the brands we discussed. For instance, having a clear and structured social media plan should be a basic requirement for any business in 2018, alongside an overarching coherent digital strategy. Being humourous and light-hearted is a great way to engage your social following, so try to incorporate the use of memes and funny clips into your social media if it fits with your brand image. If you have an e-commerce website you need to ensure your website, strategy and social media are all connected. The rising use of “social influencers” is also a trend which brands should at least try to experiment with, as it is currently an “underpriced asset which not many companies are taking advantage of.” (Gary Vaynerchuk, 2018)

The dominance of Instagram especially within the 16-34 age should encourage businesses to be present on Instagram to take advantage of the massive free audience available, and the in app purchase features.

Here at Trident we have helped brands upgrade their Social Media and Digital strategy. Our most recent example is our work with Confectionery brand Fox’s Glaciers who we helped increase their social engagement by over 5000% in one week. So if you ever want to take your digital strategy to the next level, give us a shout.

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What Brands Can Learn From The Success of Love Island

Written By Adam Burrage
Managing Partner at Trident