How Love Island Has Used Joey Essex to Tap into Established Communities

How Love Island Has Used Joey Essex to Tap into Established Communities

Neve Fear-Smith
Neve Fear-Smith

Love Island has introduced new tactics to strive for community engagement. 

Series 5 of the dating show which aired in 2019, broke the show's viewing records with 6 million tuning in, and that year's final remains the most watched ever. But since series 5, the viewing figures have been dropping each year.  

The show returned to Brit’s television screens on Monday for the 11th season, and the first episode managed to maintain an average of 1.9 million viewers - its highest ratings since the summer of 2022.

Community engagement

Twitter and TikTok have become the hub for Love Island discourse, and although there has been debate as to whether already-known public figures and influencers should be invited into the villa, for a show like Love Island to continue to succeed, community engagement amongst its Gen Z and Millennial target audience is paramount. 

In the first episode of the Summer series, the show host Maya Jama announced that a ‘bombshell’ would be entering the villa to shake things up. Enter Joey Essex – a popular UK TV personality who began his rise to reality television stardom when he first appeared on ‘The Only Way is Essex’ in 2011. 

As an established television personality, Joey has built a community of fans throughout his time in the limelight and has amassed 2 million followers on Instagram. 

Learning from success

This isn’t the first time Love Island has introduced a contestant with an already-established community to entice viewers and create conversation online… 

In series 8, Love Island ‘villain’ Adam Collard re-entered the villa after making his first appearance in season 4, and season 2 contestant Kady McDermott was the season 10 bombshell, creating a stir in the villa and on social media. 

So why is this beneficial? Bringing in previous contestants or celebrities to Love Island can significantly enhance the show's engagement and popularity for several reasons:

  • Nostalgia: Previous contestants and public figures often have an established fan base. Bringing them back can evoke nostalgia, drawing in viewers who have followed the ‘contestant’ and feel invested in their lives. This is particularly prominent as the ‘Love Island influencer’ has become less appealing due to an air of inauthenticity, where as the pre-established characters have already built authentic relationships on their channels. 
  • Increased Viewership: Celebrities or popular past contestants attract their followers to tune into the show. This can lead to a boost in viewership as fans are eager to see how their favorites interact with the new contestants.
  • Social Media Buzz: Celebrities and former contestants usually have significant social media followings. Their involvement can generate buzz and viral content, driving more traffic to the show. Social media is also an accessible way for viewers to connect with other fans of the show, or join in on topics of debate.
  • Promotional Opportunities: Collaborating with celebrities opens up cross-promotional opportunities. Popular contestants are a hot commodity for brand endorsements following the show. Their presence on the show can lead to lucrative partnerships and merchandising opportunities often in the form of clothing brand collaborations, brand ambassadors, and presenting opportunities. 

If you want to learn more about tapping into established communities to elevate the presence of your brand, product, or service, drop us an email at

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