If you have not seen Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened or Hulu’s Fyre Fraud documentaries, take the time to do so, and you will learn how social media and mobile technology today can have such a dramatic impact on today’s society at large. If you don’t have the time I can offer a succinct synopsis: what was supposed to be a luxurious exclusive musical extravaganza located on a secluded Caribbean island , ended up a elaborate digital marketing Panza-scheme put together and masterminded by Billy McFarland. You can call me a pessimist of Social Media, but that’s not actually the case; I think of Social Media as today’s modern day printing press, a tremendous accessible tool, with little to no barriers to help market our services or products. Though with all this great power of technology at our fingertips comes great responsibility. The Fyre Festival could had been an example of how to successfully rocket a brand into the stratosphere using social media, that’s if: it was anything but authentic, set realistic goals, didn’t over promise their target audience, and most of all, didn’t base it’s marketing campaign on entirely false pretenses.
No one knew who or what Fyre was or meant and if I told you I am organizing a huge festival on a deserted island, you would think I am completely out of my mind. Naturally this leads to the question of how did the digital marketing efforts of the Fyre Festival create such a huge successful following without any prior brand recognition?
Below, an example of the orange box with #FyreFestival posted by one of thousands of paid influencers.
There was several things that help propel the build up of awareness about the FyreFestival:
- Fyre raised money to pay for paid promoters known as “Fyre Starters” like Ja Rule and Kendall Jenner on Instagram. Celebrity model, Kendall Jenner, generated 6 million impressions alone with her posts.
- Videos were posted with paid supermodels on boats, jet skis, featuring clear blue water around an adventurous exclusive island setting.
- The posts on Instagram did not include “#ad” or “sponsor” as the posts were made prior to the new FCC regulations.
- Their Instagram posts utilized a posting structure that was unique at the time when each individual post made up a larger image that fit the entire page.
- A series of regular Instagram posts ensued with headlines and engagements such as ” Engage your senses”, ” We’re off to explore uncharted waters” and “Uncompromising style” with photos featuring models in bathing suits on an islan
Celebrity influencing in this case can be very dangerous and you might jump on the prosecute the messenger bandwagon, but most celebrity influencers find it impossible to figure out who is legitimate or who is intentionally making false claims. In this case, Fyre had nothing to lose by paying off high-profile celebrities at the risk of their reputation and this could be a problem that needs to be addressed in the future.
Kendall Jenner stated, “You get reached out to by people to, whether it be to promote or help or whatever, and you never know how these things are going to turn out, sometimes it’s a risk. I definitely do as much research as I can, but sometimes there isn’t much research you can do because it’s a starting brand and you kind of have to have faith in it and hope it will work out the way people say it will.”
If anything good that came out of the horrible train-wreck that the festival was, is how to actually run a proper marketing plan.
- Budget your marketing and business accordingly and make SMART goals.
- Influencers do work; but use them honestly .
- Use technology to earn the trust of your customers: real-time photos of the product or services you offer.
- Give users the ability to track and interact with objects remotely – bridge the gap between physical and digital worlds with IoT capabilities .
- Wearable preloaded money bracelets
- Virtual reality tour of Island of physical presence of where you operate
- Schematics or 3D video of the accommodations you plan to offer
- Be Authentic, don’t over promise, and be realistic what you can offer
- Be prepared for damage control. In this instance, instead of going through with impossible promises to fulfill, Billy McFarland could have saved some face by cancelling the event due to extenuating circumstances.