Two months on from TV phenomenon Love Island, contestants have been working on about life outside of the villa – where those before them have enjoyed varying levels of success in capitalising on their exposure. Adam Williams, CEO of Takumi, a leading Instagram influencer marketing service, looks at the lessons we’ve learned from past contestants after leaving the villa.
With the hype of Love Island a distant memory, contestants have been busy embracing their new lives – and fame – outside the villa. Previous contestants have enjoyed varying levels of success in capitalising on their exposure, leaving plenty of lessons for the latest cohort of ex-islanders. Just this month at a parliamentary hearing, contestants testified how they were fully aware that “it’s always afterwards where you make your money”. This years’ contestants face similar opportunities and challenges from their newfound social following, while brands must be mindful to create meaningful marketing partnerships.
We can look to past contestants for examples of success after leaving the villa. Last year, clothing outlet Missguided harnessed contestant Samira Mighty’s popularity for product promotion as part of a multi-channel approach. With Missguided sponsoring the show and appearing in ad breaks alongside brand and influencer partnerships, the campaign was authentic for consumers. The partnership helped the brand resonate with existing audiences and engage those who hadn’t previously heard of the online shopping site. The results were impressive, as Missguided succeeded in increasing its Ad Awareness Score from 13% to 20% among its target demographic (women aged 18-34) in just the first few weeks of implementation, with sales soaring by around 40% when the show aired, according to YouGov. The power of authenticity is clearly an important lesson to bear in mind for both contestants and brands.
This time round, the class of Love Island 2019 will need to bring depth and ‘personality’ to their partnerships with brands, who will in turn be looking for the contestants to create narratives that are relatable and real to consumers. We’ll continue to see more creative input from them to achieve this, as demonstrated in 2018 by Olivia Attwood and Dani Dyer, who following their successful summers on the island, both launched their own clothing collections with online retailer In The Style, which goes much further than just sharing discount codes. A demonstration of both brand and influencer being invested in the relationship, it’s no surprise that 70% of Dani’s debut collection sold on launch day. Co-creating products with brands allows influencers to put their own stamp on the partnership and really resonate with fans – in Dani’s case, designing and modelling her own range of clothes.
This year, we’ve seen new deals announced for eye-watering sums, including Molly Mae’s £500,000 partnership with Pretty Little Thing and a reported six-figure deal being signed by Maura Higgins with lingerie brand Ann Summers. Both former contestants will need to emulate the brand relationships of Olivia and Dani, with expectations for transparency and authenticity even higher this time round.
The risks and responsibilities involved for brands in creating meaningful partnerships with past contestants must be fully assessed as the influencer landscape adapts. Before launching a campaign, it’s vital that brands take the time to vet influencers and understand their motives for wanting to collaborate. Consumers are more discerning than ever and will be looking to engage with relatable and authentic brand narratives from influencer content.
With the industry maturing quickly, brands should be careful to avoid transactional, tokenistic partnerships with Love Island contestants and instead focus on developing longer-term engagements with influencers that involve a genuine investment in each other. The desire to do so is reciprocated by a lot of influencers, preferring to build a closer relationship with a brand over a longer period of time rather than chasing short term deals. Our recent research of more than 4,000 consumers, influencers and marketers across the UK, US and Germany, revealed that long term partnerships scored highly in terms of importance among 70% of influencers. In the US this was in fact the single most important factor for influencers when deciding to work with brands. This kind of relationship gives influencers opportunities to monetize themselves across multiple channels, such as events and product development – and also has significant benefits for a brand. Most importantly though, brands must tune in to what consumers genuinely want, whether that’s practical how-to content, unique co-developed products or exclusive content.
The opportunities for this year’s Love Island contestants are vast. There is a lot to be gained from long-term relationships between brands and contestants, providing both parties are on the same page in terms of transparency, authenticity and putting their audience first. Consumers are more discerning than ever before but if ex-islanders recognise the challenges involved, they can harness the opportunities created by their newfound social following.