The Resurgence of Reality Television

 In Articles

Love it or loathe it, last year ITV2’s Love Island was a massive hit in the UK with audiences flocking to watch the show and the country’s media obsessed with the series.

The appetite for reality television, once seen to be on the wane in the ‘golden age’ of TV drama is now enjoying a resurgence.

Netflix and Amazon Prime are fully embracing the genre and with global streaming successes such as The Grand Tour and Queer Eye and with Netflix recently acquiring series 1 & 2 of Love Island it seems fair to say that rumours of the death of reality television have been greatly exaggerated.

With Love Island 2018 touted to begin early June it is no surprise that brands are keen to be involved with a show that forms part of the cultural zeitgeist for audiences.

Superdrug’s Love Island partnerships have been relevant, with entertaining branded content fitting in seamlessly with the Love Island tone of voice while subtly increasing awareness of their own brand offering.

After successful associations in 2016 and 2017, Superdrug is reprising its sponsorship of Love Island again. Not only will the brand feature as the headline sponsor, additionally they will be showcasing exclusive content featuring the contestants on their own social channels. A product placement agreement will see Superdrug own brand summer products being used in the villa by contestants throughout the show.

Love Island 2018

Last year’s series also saw subtle and relevant product placement from Ministry of Sound with a branded pool party featuring branded props such as sunglasses, floats and balloons as well as several verbal mentions from the cast in an episode a day before the Ministry of Sound released their number 1 hit album The Marbella Collection.

However, for brands unable to finance getting inside the show’s content there is still the opportunity to piggyback off the strong social media presence by joining in on the conversation. In 2017, fashion brands with millennials as their target audience such as Pretty Little Thing and BooHoo joined in every step of the way as consumers commented on proceedings, creating a sense that they related and understood their shoppers.

Just as Love Island 2018 won’t be everybody’s ideal viewing (a TV summer of heavy petting and football anyone?) brands should be wary about jumping on the bandwagon and ensure it really is the right fit for them. Any association needs to feel authentic and this will always limit the pool of brands looking to be involved with any reality TV show.

With the right formats though, and Love Island 2018 is no exception, unscripted TV potentially provides opportunities for brands to gain relevance and integrate their messaging into the cultural agenda and when it comes to influencing the ‘reluctantly reached millennial’ there’s no TV show likely to be more powerful than this summer’s Love Island.


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