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What A Digital Marketing Agency Can Learn from the Fyre Festival

What A Digital Marketing Agency Can Learn from the Fyre Festival

What A Digital Marketing Agency Can Learn from the Fyre Festival


Recently, a documentary came out on Netflix about the Fyre Festival, the disastrous event that was attempted in the Bahamas in 2017. Billy McFarland, the head of the now-defunct Fyre Media empire, and rapper Ja Rule had a grand vision for a festival that they felt confident would catapult their brand into an entirely new sphere of influence and notoriety.

Unfortunately, they were in over their heads, and the methods of fundraising being used by McFarland were largely fraudulent. He was eventually convicted of several felonies and sentenced to six years in federal prison. But the Fyre Festival debacle was fascinating as an example of the flagrant misuse of social media and the harm that brand influencers can wreak on your brand if you aren’t careful. If your Los Angeles company plans on hiring a digital marketing agency, and that agency wants to use influencer marketing, they should take the lessons taught by this disaster to heart.

Take Care with How You Use Influencer Marketing

What started the rush of ticket sales for the Fyre Festival was a video that was shot on an island in the Bahamas late in 2016. It showed supermodels and brand influencers cavorting around in bikinis on the sand, drinking champagne. It was the perfect promotional vehicle for a lifestyle, and the tickets to the festival promised the chance to have a similar experience in addition to enjoying the musical acts that were eventually announced.

The vague promises offered by the video didn’t deliver, nor did the tweets and Instagram posts sent out by influencers like Kylie Jenner as the festival drew closer. Many of these influencers failed to do their due diligence and learn all they could about the festival before they mentioned it on social media. They took the money that was offered to them and put their voice and fame behind a product and an experience that never materialized.

What can a Los Angeles digital marketing agency learn from this? If you’re hiring such an agency, and they want to locate influencers to give a shout out to your brand or promote some of your services or products, they need to be very careful about what they authorize those influencers to say.

It’s a smart idea to engage the services of someone who boasts 250,000 Instagram followers who are precisely the demographic that you want to target. However, if those influencers are making claims regarding your services and products that are flagrant lies, it’s going to be a PR disaster. It could even sink your company in the most extreme of cases, like what happened to Fyre Media and Billy McFarland.   

A Valuable Lesson

The Fyre Festival was notable for anyone who works in advertising or marketing because it was the perfect example of a fantastic campaign that captured the imagination of a specific group of people. These individuals shelled out thousands of dollars based on nothing more than a few images and vague promises. It goes to show the power that videos and pictures have when coupled with the assurances and enthusiasm of the right influencers.

But if your Los Angeles digital marketing agency has it in mind to run a major promotion, tell them to be cautious. If you can’t deliver on what you advertise, the consequences can be dire.