LONDON: The UK’s governing Conservative Party has had to withdraw an offer of branded water bottles in the style of ITV2’s Love Island after a campaign to gather young voters’ details appeared on Instagram.

Ahead of Monday night’s final, the promotion sought to capitalise on the show’s popularity, and in particular the style of water bottles used by the contestants, by offering merchandise as give-aways, the Guardian reported.

The Tories’ bottles feature the slogan “Don’t let Corbyn mug you off,” in a dual reference to both the show’s idiosyncratic lexicon and the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn. Sales of official bottles has proved a serious money-spinner for the Love Island brand, which is popular with younger audiences – audiences that the Tories have struggled to attract in recent elections.

“Yeah that's right – we're giving away Love Island water bottles for the final (obviously). Some with a political twist, some not so much”, the party wrote on its website. The post has since been amended to remove any reference to Love Island, other than some ambush-marketing-style hashtags: #FinalCountdown and #DontBeAMelt.

In order to win, one of the “limited number” of bottles, people had to enter their email addresses for future communications.

References were swiftly removed following media inquiries into the potential of trademark infringement, the Gurdian wrote. Speaking to the newspaper, an ITV spokesperson declined to say whether the broadcaster had asked the party to desist. “Official Love Island water bottles are only available via the Love Island app and shop.”

In a response to the merchandise, the leftist campaign group Momentum wrote, “Dear Tories, no matter how hard you graft, young people won’t want to couple up with you, All the best, Younger voters.”

According to the BBC, the Conservative party, despite spending more on paid social advertising in the 2017 election, the opposition Labour party’s social output was able to gain more traction. To better prepare its members, the Tories have started to run training sessions for Instagram.

The gaffe, and eventual reversion is instructive: brands – political parties included – need to consider the extent to which they can (and to which they are legally entitled) to become part of a cultural conversation.

Sourced form The Guardian, BBC