The Fyre Festival - The Greatest Social Media Strategy Fail That Did Happen

posted by Zack Spear
Read time 4 minutes

If you're like the rest of the world you probably fell subject to watching one of Netflix's latest documentaries, Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened. Whether you have or haven't watched the film, learn how this film showcases what a marketing disaster actually looks like. 

Watch the trailer here:

What makes the Fyre documentary so interesting is all the twists and turns. When you watch something like this it really makes you wonder, are there other events run this poorly but we just don't hear about it? Is it common for organizers to commit complete fraud and basically get away with it? It's frustrating, but one thing marketers can take away from this is what NOT to do in marketing. 

Build Hype

So even though the Fyre festival did a lot of wrong things in this documentary, the one thing I think they did do right was to create hype and scarcity. Their social media strategy had people around the world talking about the event without really fully understanding what it was. Without any notice they had sold out the entire festival in its first year which never happens. Their use of celebrity in their promotional video was smart but short lived since it almost felt like their budget was blown on the promotional video by creating the only successful party of the festival. (This really impacted careers for influencers as well.) For example, Kendall Jenner was fined 250K.

Side note: The spin-off videos are rolling in now and are already amazing. 

Don't Promise Something That Isn't Going To Happen

Obvious, right? Well, Billy Mcfarland didn't seem to think so. Instead of delivering on his promises he continued to dig himself deeper and deeper by adding more luxuries that weren't going to happen. He saw it as part of business, but the rest of the world see's it as fraud and illegal. It wasn't until deep into the documentary you can see that he actually accepted that his promises weren't going to happen and he was in serious trouble. 

Timing Is Just As Important As The Event

Timing in marketing is so important. When you first launch a campaign you have content to support the campaign so everything needs to be released systematically.  Take into consideration other campaigns you have running or competitors campaigns that could interfere with your plans. In the case of the Fyre festival, they neglected to do so and had to relocate since the same weekend of the event was also the biggest event of the year in the Bahamas. 


Never Delete Negative Comments From Social

We've all experienced it. You get a terrible comment or feedback on your product or service and the first instinct is to remove it to avoid anymore bad publicity. If people are taking the time to provide you feedback they are definitely going to notice if you remove it. When the festival went to shit and people started to take notice, their social media agency was instructed to delete all of the negative, disable comments and refer everyone to an email address to get their issues answered that was never going to respond to those issues. 

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