It’s sun, sex and sledgehammers as Love Island returns after 18 months

Last year’s season was cancelled amid Covid-19 pandemic.

ITV has launched a chaotic campaign signposting Love Island’s triumphant return to the small screen.

Created in-house by ITV Creative, “This is not a drill” begins as presenter Laura Whitmore saunters through the street with a purple hammer, smashing an emergency button that reads: “In case of Love Island, smack on.

The spot quickly descends into chaos as attractive twentysomethings receive texts, causing the public to take to the streets in a cavalcade of bean bags and sexual innuendos. 

“This is not a drill,” narrator Iain Stirling warns, before being smacked in the face by a flying peach.

The TV ad launched on Saturday (5 June) alongside digital and outdoor activity.

It was created by Heidi Martin and directed by Ehsan and Jake Mavity.

“This is really not a drill, Love Island is back and we wanted to give fans a slap of Factor 50 and capture the anticipation and excitement that they have been missing,” Tony Pipes, executive creative director at ITV Creative, said. 

“Ehsan’s style was the perfect energy, bringing the pace and textures of social media, the edge of snatch and grab filmmaking, all wrapped in the gloss of the show.” 

Pipes added: “It’s a full super soaker blast of sunshine after a year of murkiness.”

Before the coronavirus pandemic, ITV unveiled a winter version of Love Island that aired with a peak of 2.9 million people – a 22% drop from the 3.7 million overnight peak for the 2019 launch show.

Viewership for the show’s final episode also plummeted to a peak of 2.7 million people (down 34% on the final episode of the regular 2019 series), and three months later ITV cancelled the seventh summer series of Love Island because it was "logistically" not possible during the pandemic.

Alex Mathieson, creative director at ITV Creative, said: “With the UK version off our screens for nearly a year and a half it felt we had to come back with a bang.  

“The idea of the campaign is to shake the nation and wake it from its slumber by reminding everyone of the fun a Love Island summer can bring.” 

Mathieson said that the campaign was the brainchild of junior creative Heidi Martin, who “captured the excitement we've all been missing perfectly”.

“We hope you agree we've delivered a noisy, playful and disruptive spot that's full of surprises just like every good summer should be,” Mathieson added. 

In March, Tinder offered hopeful singletons an opportunity to enter the Love Island villa in a partnership with the dating show.

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