Oh yes, the controversial Fyre Festival. If you haven’t seen or heard of it yet, stop everything you’re doing. I don’t care if you’re on the bus, reading this blog on your lunch break or pretending to check the time in a meeting. Stop and watch the documentary.

I watched this with my partner on a weekday (to my mistake) and I found myself completely drawn into the near 2-hour documentary. It sent us both down a deep, dark rabbit hole which left us with so many questions. How could these people continue to sell a dream right to the very last minute, a dream that never actually existed?

The Fyre Festival was marketed to be the greatest party ever. But much to the dismay of the patrons who paid for it, the influencers who endorsed it and all the innocent hard-working people who invested their time and… a little bit more the Fyre Festival was perhaps the biggest scam of the decade.

Man chuckling. Photo is captioned "Why should we hire you?".

After all the controversy of the Fyre Festival came out, it left a big question mark on the credibility and merit of influencer marketing.

While watching this documentary, I had some thoughts. But mostly, guilt. The execution of the marketing plan had sold the dream and the product was… let’s just say it was a far cry than the lavish luxury getaway. I put together a few of my key takeaways from the Fyre Festival controversy in the hope that you don’t make these marketing mistakes.

manage client expectations

Now imagine you’re on a tropical island, but not just any island – Pablo Escobar’s Island. You’re surrounded by celebrities, drinking cocktails on the beach, listening to your favourite bands, staying in a luxury villa with your friends, sending backstories on Instagram to all your work colleagues. Except, stop right there.

You’re actually eating a cold cheese sandwich, sitting on a wet mattress, listening to the sound of crickets chirping with not a bar of phone reception to call for help. This is exactly what had happened to those people who had purchased a ticket for Fyre Festival, hoping for [and promised] one thing, but experiencing something else.

Being overpromised and underdelivered hurts. It hurts your business, it hurts your client relationships and it’s going to sting you for years to come. Managing your client expectations is key. By all means, market yourself. Explain how wonderful your products and services are and the fantastic customer experience that your customers will buy into when they purchase from you. But never take it too far and make promises that your product or services cannot meet. Honesty is forever the best policy.

Remember, marketing makes the promise, it’s up to you and your team to make sure you deliver on that promise and live up to the expectation you have set.


influencer marketing can sell your soul

What you see on Instagram is not always as it seems. Today, the success of a person or business can be measured by some by the number of Instagram followers they have.

It’s easy to get sucked into wanting to sell the dream or reach out to influencers to come and test out your services and brag to their following about how amazing you are. But beware, your brand doesn’t have to be all about the smoke and mirrors. Social Media platforms like Instagram are great because they build connections and relationships. But, be genuine about it and make sure it is representative of your brand.

It can be easy to get a little hot-headed and open up your day spa waiting for all the models to walk through the door. While ignoring your actual customer base of the 9-5 average working woman on her skincare journey.

Whilst the models on the yacht sold the Fyre Festival to the intended target market, do your ‘models’ sell your product to their intended target audience? Or are they missing the mark and alienating your prospective clients?


marketing has power, but execution has force

Marketing has power, real power. In the hands of the wrong people, things like the disaster that was the Fyre Festival can slip through the cracks and affect people going about their day to day lives.

Whatever you are selling, whatever your niche, marketing is everything. The Fyre Festival just goes to show how the right marketing plan with the right audience and the right execution can literally sell, well… anything.

Marketing the Fyre Festival was quite an achievement. The cheapest ticket was $4,000 USD and they managed to sell all 5000 tickets. Not to mention the luxury villas worth $45,000 and the all-day boat trips, Fyre Money and the list goes on. The Fyre Festival serves as a warning that while big visions can sell, execution at every stage matters.


learn from your mistakes

I heard that Ja Rule (yes, some calls himself that) was already planning Fyre Festival #2 while his co-founder is locked up in prison – and it would seem that the once bitten, twice shy rule just doesn’t seem to apply to people like him, people who don’t want to admit when they were in the wrong.

Ask for honest feedback (even if you don’t want to hear it), be humble in your response, learn from your mistakes and apologise should things go wrong. This only makes for a better end product and at the end of the day, the product is everything.

If you need any help with your marketing message, contact the team at businessDEPOT Marketing!