4th May 2017

What Fyre Festival Can Teach Us About The Hazards Of Influencer Marketing

If you’ve spent any time on social media during this last two weeks you’ve probably heard about the now iconic Fyre Festival, an exclusive arts and culture festival located in the Bahamas, which boasted huge music artists, was publicised by a number of top influencers and which ultimately didn’t just fail to meet expectations, but reach a new level in how badly an event could possibly go. 

In fact, the festival, billed as a luxury getaway, essentially imploding within minutes of attendees arriving on the island, with a number of musicians pulling out, a complete lack of accommodation and the ‘exclusive catering’ consisting of laughably bad cheese sandwiches. 

Fyre Festival was widely promoted on social media, which is quite fittingly where most of us also witnessed the complete disaster unfold, watching in disbelief that something promoted so greatly, by a host of huge names, could go so wrong. 

It’s safe to say there’s a lot of lessons we can learn from Fyre Festival, however one of the biggest and possibly most relevant things it’s taught us is about the importance of influencer marketing and how important it is to focus on getting it right. Yet again bringing influencers into the spotlight and calling into question the legitimacy of influencer marketing and it’s efficiency.  

– Always Be Authentic

A good influencer shouldn’t work alongside your brand if they don’t really believe in what you offer or if they don’t enjoy what you do. The entire point of influencer marketing is to build a sense of trust around your brand, establishing an authentic connect with someone who can promote your products or service to others with a similar outlook, capitalising on the trust that is build with an influencer and their audience.

By failing to work with authentic influencers and instead working alongside those who are simply promoting a product they don’t truly enjoy you could be damaging your trust with your target audience. With audiences becoming more switched on to influencer marketing, people are very aware of when brands are working with someone authentic, who are promoting a reliable service that they enjoy, instead of thinking about the price tag.

A large part of Fyre Festival’s downfall was it’s failure to be authentic with audiences, sharing promotional images of influencers posing on luxurious beaches, when the reality was very different. 

– Don’t Make Promises

While this could and definitely should apply to any aspect of your marketing, don’t make promises to your audience and don’t allow your influencers to make them either. Fyre Festival promised it all, amazing musicians, beautiful models, luxury surroundings, but not only did their own promotional content promise this, the content that their influencers also shared seemed to promise this same ideology, ultimately selling the idea that all was perfect with Fyre Festival.

It’s important for businesses to avoid making promises, but even more so for influencers, nothing looks more shady that influencers making promises on the behalf of the brand they’re working for, unless they can fully back this up. This couldn’t be more relevant in the Fyre Festival scenario, with once huge and seemingly reliable influencers seeing huge drops in their following and their reputations tarnished due to getting involved in promises that couldn’t be kept.

Fyre Festival has simply re-established the fact that brands should never make promises that they can’t keep, failing to meet expectations from the get go can cause audiences to have no faith in you, can you really expect Fyre Festival 2018 to work? 

– Pay For Relevance, Not Just Names

One of Fyre Festival’s biggest marketing tools was the fact they paid some of the biggest models currently in the industry such as Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner to promote the festival on their social media channels, particularly on Instagram. While this did work in making the festival appear more A-list, helping it appeal to the ‘rich kids of Instagram’ audience Fyre Festival was meant to target, in reality it seems Fyre Festival have invested too much in paying for big names, rather than quality influencers.

It might seem tempting to pay to work with more famous influencers such as celebrities and larger influencers, but the reality is that you need to work with people who are relevant to your brand, your products and what you do, even if they aren’t the most famous person in the world.

This all ties in with the idea that your brand should be working with authentic influencers, not just people who are worth the most amount of money. Just because your business can afford to, often doesn’t mean they have to. 

What Does This Mean For Influencer Marketing?

Had Fyre Festival been a success, this could have potentially swung it for social media and social influencer marketing, helping it come across as a reliable form of marketing and establishing it as an effective form of marketing. However Fyre Festival’s failure had provided more evidence that social influencer marketing is often too good to be true, continuing to discredit the marketing tool and for good reason. 

Influencer marketing won’t last forever and with yet another issue that shows people exactly how corrupt influencer marketing can be, people are slowly going to stop trusting brands paying influencers to promote them. 

What we’re likely to see going forward is an even more increased level of skepticism surrounding social influencers, as audiences become more aware and more wary of how authentic influencer posts really are. 


Article By
Sarah Seymour,
Published: 4th May, 2017
Categories: Marketing

Start A Project

Our specialist team will provide a quotation based on your requirements

Get A Quote