A lesson in brand authenticity
from this year’s Love Island…

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from this year’s Love Island…


While the show’s premise might seem vapid, its drama often hits home with some real-life food for thought…


Love Island season 7 is currently enthralling viewers for 7+ hours per week (yes, we know how much we could achieve if we spent the time on something more productive). Most recently, contestant-couple Jake Cornish and Liberty Poole (a.k.a. Jiberty) have come under scrutiny from the public and fellow contestants alike over the authenticity of their relationship. More specifically, eagle-eyed observers are suspicious of Jake’s performative behaviour, as he seems to be spending more time ‘playing up to the cameras’ than arm-in-arm with his girlfriend. They claim that his feelings for down-to-Earth ‘girls’ girl’ Liberty aren’t genuine, and fear that she may have invested in the wrong person.

This got us thinking… there are some important lessons for brands being played out here.

Purpose is one of the hottest topics right now – and brands from FMCG giants to bedroom start-ups are rushing to place it at the core of their offering. BUT, consumers are quick to sniff out disingenuous claims, and their wrath can do some serious brand damage.

And as it is with brands, so it is with Love Island. Jake is in with a chance of winning £50,0000 prize money if he and Liberty come out as the top couple – and brands are set for huge financial gain if their purpose-first plans land correctly. However, success is no guaranteed thing. Whether Jake is genuine or not, his intended messaging has certainly landed badly – and that’s a perpetual risk for businesses, too.

So, how do brands avoid the disrepute that has come Jake’s way? Here are our five key takeaways and how they can help your brand’s purpose-driven comms:


1) Make sure your actions reflect your words.

Jake’s found himself in hot water for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is that he doesn’t seem to want to spend time with his beau. As a result, viewers and Islanders alike have questioned whether he likes her as much as he says he does – because while he keeps telling the world that his feelings are genuine, his actions don’t seem to match up. When talking about brand comms, the same rules apply – are you devoting enough time and attention to the cause(s) you’re championing? As Jake has shown us, if there’s any discrepancy between your actions and your words, people will mistrust, or misunderstand your messaging.


2) Listen to your critics.

Jake bravely sat down to hear the opinions of the people calling him out. If your brand’s purpose-driven comms are called into question, listen to the reasons why and work with the critics to improve.

3) Are you just in it for the money?

Love Island’s prize money is intended to help the winning couple set up their new life together – it’s not a dangling carrot there to be grabbed by any means possible. For brands seeking the financial benefits of championing purpose, the principle is the same. Consumers hope that the company will reinvest these funds into making the world a better place via their platforms – and won’t hesitate to impart damaging judgement if they realise the money is being spend elsewhere.

4) Who are you in it for?

Just as Jake’s answer should be ‘Liberty’, your brand’s answer should be your consumer base, or the benefit of the world in general. If the answer is ‘yourselves’, then perhaps you haven’t quite understood the assignment – your consumer base (and maybe Liberty) might feel a tad betrayed and start shopping elsewhere.

5) Most importantly – make sure your heart’s in it.

Because if it’s not, just give up now. If you’re anything less than 100% committed, consumer trust will plummet when the truth comes out (and it will!). The jury is still out on Jiberty, but we really hope Jake’s not leading us all down the garden path.

Liberty is in the position of the consumer in this scenario and has the unenviable task of deciding whether her choice is the right one. Luckily, here at Creature & Co. we have a trusty ‘Compatibility Test’ that we put all potential partners through, to make sure working together would suit the objectives of all parties. It’s not as scary as it sounds, and just helps us to sleep at night. So, if you’re looking for support with your purpose-driven communications, get in touch today to see how we can help advance your goals.