Last week saw the return of Love Island, ITV2’s now notorious dating show that follows an array of beautiful, bronzed singletons on their quest for love. And, it appears it wasn’t just the MTM team who were glued to their screens in anticipation. In fact, the 2018 launch attracted an average of 2.9m viewers with a whopping peak of 3.4m (the biggest opener to date) eclipsing the 1.3m viewers achieved for the previous series 3 launch.

Among this year’s cast of perfectly primped models are Eastenders star Danny Dyer’s aptly named daughter Dani Dyer, Alex George, an NHS doctor who has come under fire for swapping scrubs for swimming trunks and Adam Collard, a personal trainer from Newcastle (with the abs to prove it) who made a dramatic late entrance during the first episode.

Are we ‘feeling it’?

So, could this be the most popular year yet? The launch night show broke records for ITV2 by becoming the highest ever overnight rating since records began (in the words of Dani, those figures are enough to make anyone’s “nut spin”). As the previous record holder was last year’s finale with 2.6m viewers, this could be the best year yet.

What’s all the ‘hype’ about?

You might not think it by looking at the beach bodies of the islanders, but the show is relatable. As Executive Producer Tom Gould explains, “The audience watch it and they recognise scenarios on the show from their own lives – that’s a big part of it. It feels authentic”.

Love Island is an excellent example of how the unpredictability of linear TV – such as the live voting and results – appeals to a young demographic. “It’s like Russian roulette, you never quite know when something is going to happen, or someone is going to say something unexpected” says Professor Angela Smith.

Who’s jumping on the Love Island bandwagon?

The show continues to succeed in attracting the lucrative and notoriously hard-to-reach audience of 16-34s, who make up 52% of the viewers. With this audience tuning in daily, brands are queuing up to partner with the show.

Superdrug is returning for a third year as the show’s sponsor after seeing a spike of 76% in bronzer sales following last year’s partnership.

Others are eager to have their products shown alongside the islanders; Rimmel has supplied the contestants’ make-up during the show, Missguided is styling the girls’ clothing which can be purchased fresh out of the villa, and Samsung has supplied mobiles which can be seen every time someone squeals “I’ve got a text!”

Lucozade has also partnered up with Love Island in a £6m multimedia campaign. The campaign is looking to attract younger viewers by including a Snapchat lens, placement on the Love Island app, influencer content and a competition to win tickets to the show’s live final.

Sliding into our DM’s

Social platforms play a key role in driving engagement and audiences to the show. This is reflected in the digital footprints of the contestants who introduced themselves alongside their latest Instagram selfies. As Tom Gould says, “It’s social media and being part of the conversation that has drawn people to watch [the show] live”. Last year’s series received more than 2 billion Twitter impressions and this year’s show may well exceed this.

We have already seen the memes rolling in for this year, so here are a few of our current favourites.

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If you would like to discuss TV trends or just tell us your favourite Love Island couple this year, do not hesitate to get in touch.