Touching Gold: How to attract a younger audience to TV viewing – Part One

With the Love Island final this week and overall viewing figures comparable to the likes of BBC News at Ten and Graham Norton, this summer show has struck commercial gold. The current rating of around 3.5m is the result of 70% year on year growth since the show launched in 2014, but, most importantly, Love Island has encouraged an estimated 1.3m 16-34 year olds to watch live TV – something we, as marketers, are warned they rarely do. According to Ofcom only 65% of 16-24s even use a standard TV (compared with 98% who use a mobile) – so how has Love Island done it? It has been said that the show’s format and subject play a huge part, but when we look at other big hits with a younger demographic, genre is not the defining factor.


To understand some of the key ingredients which influence the 16-34 year old demographic to watch TV, we decided to take a look at the marketing for a range of shows that are winning with them revealing, in a blog series all week, the key commonalties in the communication of these shows that may have helped lure a younger generation to watch.


Rule 1

Let the content out of the box


Through real world experiences, parallel storylines, games or unexpected stunts; these shows all bring entertainment, involvement or storytelling into the real world to connect audiences with the show.


For Stranger Things and Game Of Thrones these activations serve to drive anticipation and WOM; whilst for Love Island they creates a relatability between the body beautifuls living in a luxury villa and those watching from their UK sofa.  From dragon skulls on beaches to white walkers on the tube, Game of Thrones run many a PR stunt in this area which deliver a ‘did you see…?’ conversation point and a sense of being in the club.


Being ‘in the club’ was something we did very literally for the launch of Legion for Fox. An immersive experience called “The Mutant Lounge”, sought to bring the series to life. For two nights a London members’ bar was themed for the show, with ‘mutant’ bar staff (actors and magicians) hosting influencers ahead of a first screening.



Stranger Things pushed their narrative in to the real world as far as their legal department in this, widely shared, ‘Cease and Desist’ letter, proving that there are no boundaries to where the content and story can live.