18 September, 2019 - 13:27 By Richard Taylor, Managing Director, Simpsons Creative

Love Island deserves its place in the sun

‘My girlfriend Julia watched all of the last series of Love Island’. There, I’ve said it, I’m a whole lot better for getting that out of my system and feel somewhat cleansed. 

Quite why I should feel any vicarious guilt over her viewing preference is puzzling to say the least. Whilst she enjoys the programme it hardly defines her as a person and, as she is more than happy to point out, I make her “sleep through Match Of The Day” so I haven’t got a leg to stand on. Although, pointing out that her description of ‘overpaid Prima donna’s running around in shorts’ could be easily applied to both programmes, wasn’t my most diplomatic comment on our respective viewing habits. 

Love it or hate it, it’s usually safe to assume that a show that’s polarises opinion to this extent is going to have a pretty strong following from the ‘Love’ camp. And, whilst polarising opinion, in a more general sense it can also help to bring families together. A friend of mine who works long hours in the City found that his teenage kids would not only share the same living room with him when Love Island was on, but they’d happily talk to him about it after the show as well. Teenagers talking to parents; whatever next? He doesn’t care, he gets an hour or so with his kids most weekday evenings when the series is running and he’s happy. 

Personally, I would rather spend an hour rearranging my collection of old toenail clippings than watch the show, but that really doesn’t matter. The simple fact is that if overweight middle-aged men were the target audience then ITV2 would be in a lot of trouble and the show wouldn’t have made it past the pilot stage – but we’re not. We don’t text for England, say ‘OMG’ or ‘It is what it is’ nearly enough, let alone ‘Like’ and hardly ever prefix a statement with the word ‘Literally’ so we just don’t qualify – they aren’t talking to us and couldn’t care less if we watch it or not.

What they do care about however, is their target audience - and they just happen to love it! 

5.7m viewers an episode love it so much, in fact, that ITV’s advertising and partnership revenues have been in the region of £77m during the course of this last season, with a 30 second slot going for some £45,000, as opposed to the usual £4,000, according to Campaign Magazine. 

This is for advertising on ITV2 by the way. Over on ITV1 they can only manage £35,000 for a 30 second slot in Coronation Street. And with sponsorship deals going for up to a cool £5m, you start to see how this easy viewing makes for some very hard cash indeed. One retail partners sales figures went up by 105% on a week by week basis for the final few episodes.   

The great British public can be quite snobby and more than a little sniffy when it comes to other people’s viewing habits and, it has to be said, this programme in particular and the those who take part, have had more than their share of problems. But, before you knock any TV show too much, talk to one of their commercial partners – they might just set you straight! 


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