Love Island is known as a breeding ground for three main things: Love (…ok, lust), gossip, and brand-new influencers.
Even before they land on the balmy island of Mallorca - chiselled, tanned, plucked and cosmetically injected for the Gods - the contestants will have their eye on the real prize: the life that lies in wait for them after the show. Their ambition is not to find love on Love Island, of course, but to find FAME. Fleeting, frivolous and profitable fame! By now, it is a well-trodden path. We know that some will return to obscurity faster than you can say “You look familiar. Were you on Bake Off?”, some will shine brilliantly as newly minted reality stars for a good few months, and a rare few will end up attracting millions of online followers, hosting their own TV shows, designing clothes, publishing children’s books and appearing on “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here”. The dream.
If I sound bitter, it’s because I’m stuck working from home, distinctly unchiselled, untanned, unplucked and unfamous.
Nevertheless, in order to ensure these brand new influencers (nay, let’s give them their due: ‘social talent’), end up on the sofa with Phil and Holly for all the right reasons, I want to offer up some free advice. The endorsement deals and freebies will start rolling in even before you board the plane home, but before you post your first Instagram story, tweet or TikTok mentioning, thanking or tagging any brands, be sure you know what you’re doing.
The main requirement is to ensure you are being transparent with your new fans and followers. The good news is that this is easy to do. You might not love it, but the key thing is to use “Ad” or the Paid Partnership tool to let your followers know you’ve been paid, loaned or given something – even as an unsolicited freebie. That will get you very far.
The other tip is to be careful about what you promote – there are special rules about what you can and can’t do in relation to promoting fillers, prescription-only medicines (including Botox), slimming products, supplements, smoking and vaping, as well as gambling, alcohol and other age-restricted products and services.
The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) joined forces with ITV to prepare some bespoke guidance for Love Islanders in 2019. They will no doubt publish their own up-to-date guidance for Love Islanders before long, so I won’t go into more detail here, except to mention a very important recent development:
The ASA now has a brand-new sanction to ensure influencers follow the rules: The ASA will name and shame influencers who fail to follow the rules or who fail to cooperate with the ASA by publishing a list of non-compliant influencers on its site and letting the press know all about it. There are already four influencers on the ASA’s list, including Jodie Marsh. Influencers will stay on this list for 3 months, during which time they are subject to increased monitoring by the ASA. At the end of that period, provided they have kept their nose clean, they should be removed from the list. However, if during that time (or after) they continue to ignore the ASA or break the rules, the ASA will push for further sanctions; and to that end the ASA will work with social platforms to remove the relevant content, they might take out online advertisements in paid space to further draw negative attention to the rogue influencers (which should inevitably reduce the influencer’s earning power), and the ASA could even ask the CMA or Trading Standards to prosecute the relevant influencers if there is continued non-compliance.
The UK regulators have been banging this drum for years now, and have well and truly run out of patience. It is perhaps understandable, because the rules and guidance are clear. Ignorance of the rules will not be accepted by the regulators as an excuse, so make sure you know your stuff.
Oh, and there’s a Parliamentary Inquiry underway into social media marketing and social influencers too… so, no pressure, but the regulators will be watching your post-island content as intensely as the gossip columnists.