The Voice Of A Generation

Girls On “Fyre.”​ What Marketers Can Learn From #FyreFestival


I know what you’re thinking, it’s been a week since the documentary was released, which means every lunch table and social media head wants their two cents, and let me tell you – that is exactly what is about to happen here.

If you haven’t already watched the much-hyped Netflix documentary Fyre: the greatest party that never happened, then I urge you to turn around right this moment or else be redirected to the trailer below.

The documentary is a Coachella experience gone Black Mirror combined with an event organisers nightmare. Fyre Festival was to be a two-weekend immersive music festival that quickly turned to disaster. The documentary takes us through the execution of #FyreFestival -which promised A-list music acts, Instagram models, and yacht parties — yet, instead failed to deliver on any of their promises leading attendees to flee the Bahamas as soon as they could.

Seeing the two lads sitting on stage at Web Summit was close to home, and certainly allowed the pit to enter our stomachs early on. With this, there are a lot of dark emotions in watching Fyre, but what can we as marketers learn from it all? What lessons can we take away? Good question, glad you asked. I sat down to try to figure it out:

The Power Of Influencers

We may never underestimate the power influencer marketing. With over ⅓ of millennials and Gen Z trusting an influencers word over a brand, it’s no surprise that the social media campaign for Fyre gained the traction it did. The campaign which included influencers and models like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner had a tremendous impact on the sales and marketing of the festival.

Jerry Media was the marketing team that managed the influencer campaign and produced the social video content for Fyre. They had 400 on-demand influencers with millions of followers post an orange tile on Instagram leading onto the official promo video and including the hashtag #FyreFestival that garnered over 300 million impressions in 24 hours. At the expense of objectifying the models, the festival sold out in 48 hours. Apparently, this is enough social reach to convince someone to fly to the Bahamas for a fake Blink-182 concert.

Social Responsibility

Jerry Media crafted a narrative of exclusivity and opulence all from leveraging social media. With great power in the social sphere, comes great responsibility. Since the release of the documentary they have tried repairing the situation by donating to the Go-FundMe started for Maryann Rolle, the woman conned out of $50K of her life savings to cater for the event. The societal impact on the island had local people out of pocket after spending weeks building a sinking ship. This begs the question, do we ever know if what we are promoting on social will have a positive impact and how can we predict the outcome?

Rules & Regulations

With the race for attention being intensified, we are operating in a troubled social media landscape, where lack of regulation is rife and the buzzwords on everyone’s lips are data privacy and influencer fraud. This is a wake-up call for agencies and influencers to be more discerning about who they work with and a stark reminder for brands to be far more transparent about who’s being paid to endorse them.

In conclusion, there is a lot that can be learnt from Fyre. We are left posing other questions such as why Ja Rule? Why ransack other tents to keep them away from your own and of course, why put $12,000 on a wrist band for a three-day event?

Remember, when you find your most sensible ideas are coming from a pilot who taught himself to fly on ‘Microsoft Flight Simulator’, it’s time to reassess your priorities.


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