Social Media: The Rise and Fall of Fyre Fest

In the last couple of weeks, there were two massively popular documentaries released on the infamous Fyre Fest. If you don’t know what Fyre Fest is, it was the brainchild of dicey entrepreneur Billy McFarland with the support of influencers and marketing from the social-centric Jerry Media. You have probably already heard about the cheese sandwiches and the disaster relief tents, but we want to look at how social media played a part of its success, and ultimately it’s demise.

Fyre Fest was built on the hype of social media and was their main vehicle for promotion. Their strategy was superlative – tying in high-quality video content, beautiful location stills, and big-time influencers to support the event. Millennial eye-candy of you will. Within one day of going live, there was so much buzz built from influencers that people were eager to pay the five-figure price tag for tickets. The turn of events was astounding:

– At launch, 63 macro influencers went live with a vague orange post and the hashtag #FyreFest. This garnered over 300 million impressions in 24 hours.
– The most famous of the bunch was Kendall Jenner who was paid $250K to post (all others were in the $20K range).
– In all, over 400 influencers were used during Fyre Fest’s campaign.

The festival was an instant hit on Instagram and almost proved to be successful until the actual event took place. Although social media helped build the hype, it also put the fest in the spotlight in more negative ways than one can count. There was no way to hide how unprepared the organizers were and the poor quality of Fyre Fest – and this was obviously shared on social by the masses. Social media ended up being their blessing and their curse, creating one of the biggest publicity nightmares in history.

What are the lessons social media experts took from Fyre Fest? Influencer marketing definitely works, but can quickly turn on you if you make promises you can’t keep. It will build you up but tear you down one post at a time. What are your thoughts about Fyre Fest? Watch both documentaries streaming on Hulu and Netflix and let us know.

-Nic Mercado
Associate Director of Operations