A new Netflix documentary tells the story of the disastrous crash and burn of Fyre Festival aka “The Greatest Party That Never Happened”.
The festival was sold by celebrity influencers and models on Instagram as a mini Coachella on Pablo Escobar’s Island in the Bahamas. Turns out the luxe beachside accommodation that was promised was more akin to disaster relief tents! The gourmet food was actually crummy cheese sandwiches and not one headline act was in sight. Guests sparked uproar as they were also promised a custom jet transfer to the island from Miami but instead, were left stranded in the airport waiting for hours.
At thousands of dollars a pop and described as an “immersive festival” over two “transformative weekends”, the VIP event was plugged on social media by some of the biggest names including Kendal Jenner, Hayley Baldwin and Bella Hadid.
Fyre Festival is a prime example of how heavily swayed millenials are by ‘influential’ people with large social media followings and how blurred the lines are between advertising and delivery of a product. It also highlights how little research ‘influencers’ do themselves in terms of what they’re actually promoting, showing a complete lack of transparency and authenticity. But as the saying goes money talks, bs walks!
In October 2018, festival organiser Billy McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison for wire fraud and ordered to forfeit US $26million. Along with jeopardising their credibility, the models in question are now under fire legally as they have been subpoenaed to reveal how much they were paid in court.
The bottomline is the world is watching and brands need to be very careful about what they promise and what they deliver. On social media; communication must have an authentic purpose and fakes will be easily be exposed. Transparency is key here. Connect with your community, live your purpose and stay true to your audience.