The words “Fyre Festival” might bring a chill down your spine, but good news! Fyre Festival was not a total epic fail. Billy McFarland might not have been an expert in the finance department, but he had influencer marketing down pat. The festival is renowned for utilizing influencer marketing to its utmost potential, and nearly taking over social media one influencer at a time.
On Dec. 12, 2016, 63 influencers posted a mysterious orange graphic on Instagram with the hashtag #fyrefest. The ambiguity and lack of detail were very appealing to the Instagram community, leading to 300 million impressions in 24 hours. People wanted in, but they didn’t know what they were signing up for. Almost 400 influencers promoted the event on social media, such as Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner who were paid a hefty amount to post a blank orange graphic on their personal Instagram accounts. Very few of the influencers, including Hailey Bieber, Nick Bateman, Emily Ratajowski, and Elliot Tebele, mentioned in their posts these were paid promotions. Influencers were also offered free flights, accommodations, and tickets to the event. The Internet hype meant that tickets flew out of the door, even though Billy McFarland had not booked bands or had a place for guests to sleep. Sounds about right?
The campaign spent millions (and I mean millions) on flying models and influencers to the Bahamas every other weekend, so they could pose for pictures on the beach and lounge on luxurious yachts. The minds behind the Fyre Festival created extravagant, professionally edited promotional videos to drive people to Pablo Escobar’s old island. The promotional video shows models jumping from these yachts into the crystal clear water of the Bahamas, and Ja Rule, McFarland’s business partner, flying through the ocean on a jet ski with a cold beer never leaving his side. Fyre Festival created a utopia for music lovers, a place to sit back, relax in the Bahamas, and party alongside the hottest influencers.
Many blamed the influencers for promoting an event that eventually went down in flames. Was it really their fault though? Influencers posted these promotions with full confidence that the event would go on without a hitch. It is hard to turn down a weekend full of partying with the hottest models and influencers of today’s media-driven world, and millions of fans were drawn in and “fell victim” to the hierarchy of these influencers. Critics are claiming that this event may tarnish the influencer marketing game as a whole.
Overall, the festival was nothing short of a good try. There was never a lack of ideas and dreams, with nothing behind it to make it a reality. Many people lost thousands of dollars and felt betrayed by the power of media influencing as a whole. Fyre Festival has changed the influencer game forever, and our fellow Instagram-lovers will be sure to second guess the luxurious island get-away promotion they run across on Instagram.
NeoReach is the leading social media influencer marketing platform. We help brands identify and advertise at scale through the top social media influencers. Get started with us today!
This article was written by Jessica Paolucci.