The Fyre Festival: What Went Wrong?

There’s no doubt that if you’ve spent any of your time on social media lately then you would have heard about the recent disaster that is the Fyre Festival.  

Promoted as the hottest place to be this Spring, it was anything but.

First came the deadlines that were missed, then the performers pulling out because they weren’t paid, and if it couldn’t become any worse, a tropical storm the night before - destroying accommodation. The organisers found themselves in a situation that, as mum would say, was well above their heads.

Not only was the festival full of broken promises, it’s now also full of broken reputations.
Of course, the organisers' reputations will be somewhat destroyed, but they've also dragged down the influencers too. 

So what went wrong from an influencer marketing perspective and how can we learn from this?


Models Alessandra Ambrosio, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, Emily Ratajkowski, Elsa Hosk, Paulina Vega, Lais Ribeiro, Rose Bertram, Gizele Oliveira and Hannah Ferguson all promoted Fyre Festival in good Instagram fashion - in their bikinis, swimming in crystal clear waters and having the time of their lives. It gave everyone major FOMO and ticket sales hit the roof. This is considered great influencer marketing in terms of generating ticket sales but behind these ads were many red flags that each and every influencer missed.

The number one rule as an influencer is to do your research. Is the brand you’re promoting reputable? Does it suit your lifestyle? It’s important to know who you are working with. The main red flag here was that Fyre Festival was a brand new festival. In all fairness, these ladies didn’t have anything to research behind this, but they missed the importance of knowing who they’re working with.

One of the organisers, Billy McFarland, had a reputation of never delivering on his promises, backing out of plans at the last minute and not being a professional entrepreneur when it came to organising events. Major red flag here. As an influencer, this situation gives you no guarantee that what you’re promoting is in fact good and makes you look like you’ve just done it for the money.  

Money is enticing for many people, even people that are already rich. Would you pass up $250,000 for an Instagram post?! You’ve got to remember though, your reputation is worth more than a single dollar value.

'Gramming (or creating content of any kind) just for the money can lead to the current situation these models are in - major backlash.

The festival these influencers promoted became a disaster and now they’re labelled as ‘liars’ and ‘fakes’ as well. The models' reputations have become less valid and the people have lost trust in them. For the influencers, and future brands that want to work with them, events like these will result in lower engagement and sponsored content will not have the outcome that was desired. 

Remember, it’s important to know about the company as well as the product/service/event you’re being asked to showcase.

We know it’s hard when you’re excited, but try not to just say yes because they chose you. Research everything you can to make sure it fits your own brand - remember you’re the influencer, you have the power to promote a brand, not the other way around.

It should never be about the money, because in the end, it’s your A$$ on the line Felicia.

While the influencers they used here clearly don’t manage their own influencing opportunities, the buck still has to stop somewhere, and it should be at the top of the food chain. Yes, their management should have done the research for them, but ultimately, no matter your size as an influencer, and whether you’ve got a manager or an agency representing you, YOU are the one creating the content. You are the one with the final say - so say the right things, ask the right questions, and create the best content you can.

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