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Love Island’s rules of engagement set new content marketing standards

By Laurna Woods

Jack and Dani took the title on Love Island but the big winner for me was the ITV2 show’s smartphone app, which was a triumph in content marketing.

The reality show has been a massive hit for the channel, drawing a record audience of 3.6 million for the final.

And whether or not the couple head down the aisle, we’ve got to talk about engagement. In terms of hooking viewers, the Love Island app was a winner for the brands wise enough to get involved in the show.

It is a one-stop content hub packed full of juicy details, pics and interviews with a clever e-commerce functionality that must have the sponsors doing cartwheels.

The producers were cunning about luring viewers to adopt the app. You couldn’t vote unless you had the app – and voting was free once you had it. But once you’d downloaded the Superdrug-sponsored software, swearing you were only doing it because you wanted to get rid of Eyal, there was too much to see and do to ignore it.

Engaging content marketing

In a stunning example of engaging content marketing, the app offered users the chance to stay up to date with goings on in the villa in multiple formats. There were the latest clips, videos of viewers’ favourite moments, and a link to the Instagram feed of the UK’s most Insta-friendly show.

The “discover” tab took you to a treasure trove of video clips featuring the dates and dumpings – and the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes-sponsored Morning After podcast, where celebs dissected events.

The prominence given to film and podcast content reflects the way the internet is evolving in these days of ever-faster broadband speeds and burgeoning smartphone data plans. The moving image and the spoken word are more engaging than the still photograph or the written word for the casual browser scrolling idly on their phone.

Elsewhere, there were competitions, a chance to download the Love Island soundtrack album (which I just had to have) and mobile games.

Or you could click through to check out the make-up from Rimmel London used by each of the girls – which took you directly to the Superdrug online store, where they also tempted you with their deals of the week.

Scroll through outfits

Perhaps you fancied a Love Island wristband or a personalised water bottle, just like those the contestants supped from. You could buy them in the app’s online store.

But the most clever aspect of ITV2’s content marketing for me was the way you could tap on the “style” tab of the app to check out what the reality stars were wearing. There, you would find pictures of the gang in their Missguided styles and then scroll through their outfits, each with a handy “buy now” button by its side.

For example, if you loved Laura’s red dress for the final the temptation to buy was great. And Missguided’s prices are aimed squarely at the impulse buyer. It’s a match made in fashion heaven.

For me, Missguided has been the biggest winner among the brands. I’d always associated its clothes with the young and the daring, but there were a few little gems that were tempting no matter your age. I’d imagine that the holiday suitcases at UK airports are packed with Missguided fashions this year.

But all the sponsors must be over the moon. The brands have had great exposure for two months, sitting in hundreds of thousands of pockets while daytime TV stars such as Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid argue about the show’s relative merits, reflecting countless water-cooler conversations nationwide.

Brand partnerships

The way that ITV2 has engaged its audiences with the help of clever sponsorships and brand partnerships has been a massive sweetener on the back of the channel’s highest-ever ratings. And it will be interesting to see the impact that link-up has had on the sponsors’ sales.

Now the season is over, brands will be circling the former contestants, looking for opportunities.

Indeed, our client Specsavers had the winners and runners-up from last year’s show at its Spectacle Wearer of the Year final last October – where the prize was taken by Alex Miller, a contestant in this summer’s series.

And with a few of the cast loving their glasses – Laura, Kaz and Dani just for starters – I’m looking forward to meeting up with them at this year’s ceremony in October.

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