Can pubs cash in on Love Island?

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Millennial appeal: could Love Island themed events help pubs target a younger audience?
Millennial appeal: could Love Island themed events help pubs target a younger audience?

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Reality TV show Love Island has taken the nation by storm, with viewing figures peaking at close to 4m people in 2018 despite regular clashes with the World Cup.

On 4 June 2018, 3.4m people tuned into ITV2 for the first episode of the reality series’ fourth season – which also broke the channel’s record for highest overnight rating.

The episode on Sunday 1 July 2018, watched by 3.7m people, broke this record again.

The eight week series involves a group of ‘islanders’ living in isolation in a Majorcan villa, under Big Brother like surveillance, surviving elimination from the show by coupling up with other contestants.

The series concludes with the last remaining couple winning £50,000. 

Many pubs face an ongoing challenge in getting Millennial customers through the door​. According to figures released by marketing and insight company Multiply, 78% of 18 to 26-year-olds classify themselves as low-to-medium drinkers, with more than half (55%) of the same age group claiming alcohol doesn’t play an important part in their social lives.

With 52% of Love Island​’s audience being of the 16 to 34 age group, could events themed on the show offer pubs a chance to appeal to younger customers?

Attracting new custom

Nancy Taylor-Jewell, general manager of the Red Lion in Stoke Newington, north London, hosted a finale party for the 2017 edition of Love Island as well as a launch party for the current series.

“For the finale party there was so much interest in the series compared to previous years we thought it was mad not to capitalise on that. We were full upstairs and downstairs and there was a massive buzz on our social media too.

“Plenty of customers had never been to our pub before so we won their custom and also doubled our normal take for that day. Even people who weren’t into it were glued by the end.

“The feedback was great. Even now we are getting Tweets and Instagram’s asking for information.

“I think if you’re seen as a pub that breaks the norm a bit then that can only be a good thing. Fun, interactive, modern events as opposed to your normal pub quizzes and sports. It also gained us a significant increase in our Instagram followers and our Love Island​ posts are actually all in the top 10 or our most popular posts, since we opened."

Following the success of the 2017 series finale event, Taylor-Jewell explained that The Red Lion would mark the 2018 series conclusion with "inflatables, jugs of cocktails, and all the drama on a big screen.”

‘National phenomenon’

A spokesperson for Walkabout bars added: “Love Island​ has become a national phenomenon and because it appeals to our target demographic, it is a natural fit for the brand.  

“We have fantastic viewing capabilities for sport so it was the perfect opportunity to utilise this for such a popular programme.

“The Love Island​ final in 2017 was a great success, with all sites seeing a significant uplift in sales." 

Discussing plans for the 2018 series, they explained: “We primarily focused on the launch episode and will also be showing the final across all our bars - it is great to see all of our managers get so involved - some of our heavily invested sites have renamed cocktails to fit in with the theme and sayings of the show.”

Themed quizzes

Caroline Gardner of the Old Queens Head in Islington, London added: “we hosted two Love Island​ quizzes in 2018 after a successful run of three or four during the 2017 series.”

Gardner’s quizzes, consist of a mix of picture rounds, questions about the contestants and ‘who said what challenges’, attracting around 80 guests per quiz.

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