Where is the love? 2018’s summer of sponsorship is a game of two halves

Where is the love? 2018’s summer of sponsorship is a game of two halves

The World Cup is over. And now the football is gone, there’s only one contest in town. Nope, not Wimbledon. We’re talking Love Island people. And despite the fact that I have a law degree, speak three languages and like to consider myself a person of above-average intelligence that generally eschews reality TV. I. Am. Hooked.

I’m watching it right now. #notevenjoking. I just can’t help myself. It is utterly addictive. And I like to think *ahem, kid myself* that it is also research. After all, the main sponsor is UK drugstore chain Superdrug (AS Watson) and Coty’s Rimmel London is make-up partner.

And for those of you who thought the next 500 words were going to be a discussion of the merits of Megan versus Laura, Georgia over Caz; let’s be clear – we’re actually here to discuss sponsorship.

Yes, while the World Cup struggled to find sponsors this year after several major multinationals, including Johnson & Johnson declined to renew their partnership following the FIFA corruption scandal which broke in 2015, Superdrug didn’t hesitate to jump into bed with Love Island for the third year in a row. In fact, the show signed on a whopping 10 sponsors making it ITV’s biggest commercial property ever. No wonder given that, last year, Superdrug saw a 10 percent increase in spontaneous brand awareness, a 9 percent increase in purchase intent and 900 percent increase in Superdrug brand search terms while the series was on air. It also attributed a growth in profits and market share of the make-up sector directly to the TV tie up.

Compare that to Adidas, loyal World Cup partner, who warned investors not to expect any boost in sales after the Russian tournament. “We see this as a brand-building event,” said CEO Kaspar Rorsted. “The direct financing impact is limited.”

Meanwhile, the Love Island 2018 show is well and truly vindicating Superdrug’s decision; the series is ITV2’s most-watched show ever with an audience of 3.4 million recorded at launch, more than double that of the previous year. And just for comparison, the ‘main’ channels i.e. BBC, ITV and Channel 4 pulled in 1.73 million, 2.32 million and 2.23 million respectively. Yes, Love Island was the highest rating program at 9pm across all channels in the UK.

I make that 1-nil to Superdrug – the partnership is truly made in heaven. “[Superdrug] suits the tone of the show, they have the right products and it feels like they belong in the environment,” Mat Goff, joint CEO at Adam & Eve/DDB told Campaign as the last season closed. “Their sponsorship bumpers fit the mood and the tone of that show, so they feel like a decent start point every time we return to the action.”

This year, the retailer and cosmetics brand are making the most of the deal with dedicated merch sold in store – Rimmel London has launched a set of exclusive transfer tattoos, which went on sale (only in Superdrug stores, natch) at the end of May, two weeks before the show launched.

“The show is a perfect fit for Rimmel and links back to our core values of self-expression and experimentation,” Rimmel Marketing Manager Jessica Glover told The Sun.

Superdrug, meanwhile, has launched a dedicated range of shower cocktails, glitter gels and a bronzing set as well as stick-on gems and slogan cosmetic bags.

While the thrust of the show may well be to find a partner, it is Superdrug and Love Island that are enjoying the fruits of a happy marriage – and that makes the drugstore chain the real winner.

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