Love Island has been a cult classic in British pop culture ever since it first hit our screens. However, 2023 has seen the lowest viewing figures for the show on record, losing a whopping 1.3 million viewers compared to last year.
The show’s marketing efforts are full on every year, with Love Island seeming to take over social media (and conversations in the office) for two months every summer. However, has the time come where it is simply not enough to keep viewers engaged? Our marketing agency explores the reasons behind the failed marketing strategy of Love Island 2023 and why it has struggled to retain its former glory.
Overloaded with Love Island content
I’ve got a text! And another one…and another one…Love Island has been on the air for numerous seasons, and its format has remained relatively unchanged. Over time, the show’s repetitive nature has led to viewer fatigue and a lack of excitement, as contestants and challenges become predictable to viewers. Also, the constant bombardment of Love Island related content on social media, tabloids, and other platforms has resulted in oversaturation and overexposure to the show. Although they need to promote the show and almost have a ‘Love Island’ takeover on social media to make a splash, have their marketing efforts just gone too far?
The introduction of the Winter Love Island series in 2020 has overloaded people with Love Island shows too, so what once was a fun summer TV show to look forward to no longer feels special. Could it be that this is what led to the downfall of Love Island over the last few years?
Shows like The Great British Bake Off have increased their spin off shows, with celebrity bake offs raising money for Stand Up To Cancer. Although the viewing figures for last year’s Bake Off decreased to 4.4 million in 2022 from 5.2 million in 2021, the show is still the most watched show during that time slot, whereas Love Island is not.
Lack of Diversity and Representation
One of the criticisms against Love Island UK in recent years is the lack of diversity and representation among its contestants. In an era where inclusivity and representation are paramount, the show’s failure to reflect society’s diverse demographics has led to a disconnection with many viewers. This lack of representation has alienated potential audiences who seek relatability and a sense of inclusion.
Although everybody knows that the aim of Love Island isn’t to be relatable, and instead pushes towards glossy and perfected content, the novelty has worn off for some viewers after nine seasons.
Shift in Audience Preferences
In the fast-paced world of reality TV, audience preferences are ever-evolving. Viewers are looking for authenticity, meaningful connections, and relatable situations to make what they’re watching feel more real. With Metro’s reviewer Tori Brazier commenting that “It was all very copy and paste unfortunately – it seems Love Island needs that overdue format shake-up right about now.”
Older series of Love Island followed this narrative more closely, however as the show’s popularity has increased, viewers are finding the show more staged and over-produced. The show’s unwillingness to adapt to the changing landscape of reality TV has caused it to lose relevance and appeal among its target audience.
Contestant Backlash and Controversies
Over the years, Love Island has faced numerous controversies surrounding the behaviour and treatment of its contestants. Instances of online abuse, bullying, and lack of aftercare for participants have tarnished the show’s reputation. The resulting negative publicity has discouraged potential viewers from engaging with the show, as some perceive it as morally questionable and exploitative.
Although the show has stepped in to provide better aftercare in the latest seasons, their failure to control online criticism and bullying of the contestants has raised questions as to whether their marketing is contributing to the backlash.
Competing Platforms and Fragmented Audiences
The rise of streaming platforms and the rise in popularity of reality TV shows have fragmented the audience’s attention. Love Island’s marketing efforts have failed to adapt to this changing landscape, which now offers a whole range of alternatives catering to different tastes and preferences.
As a result, the show struggles to compete and attract viewers who have shifted their focus to other content options. Could it be that Love Island is simply old news?
Influencers aren’t becoming influencers anymore
The days of islanders leaving to massive followings are long gone, the Molly Mae effect is over! Contestants leaving Love Island were almost guaranteed fame, success and brand deals, but now most of them are having to return to their day jobs.
Brands have picked up on the declining views, with the show losing half its viewers this year compared to Molly Mae’s series four years ago, and no longer see Love Island stars as a viable influencer opportunity. Despite the show’s determination to cement itself as *the* reality TV show, its contestants are no longer seen as celebrities.
Viewers have also picked up on the fact that the show doesn’t cast authentic feeling contestants. All of them are aware of the opportunities that may come from being a Love Islander, so there has been an increase in contestants being scouted by the show due to their existing followings, or applying for the show based on the chance of fame and not love.
We hope we gave you some insight into the sun-kissed marketing world of Love Island, and the problems that have come with it!
Read more from our full service Leeds agency: Punch Creative.