Fyre Festival: What Does It Mean For Influencer Marketing?

After the recent publication of two documentaries on Netflix and Hulu about the epic fail that was Fyre Festival, we’ve taken a look at the less noteworthy but similarly epic success of the Festival: the Influencer Marketing leading up to it.

The Jerry Media team, hired by Fyre, used influencer marketing to stop the internet: they wanted people to stop scrolling and click through to the Fyre website. They contracted a number of high profile influencers to post an orange square at the same time to drive hundreds of thousands of users to the Fyre Festival website, and it worked.

So many brands in the IM space have this exact intent -- they want to cut through all the clutter of social media and stand out on any one consumer’s personal feed. Fyre Festival did so with an orange square, but can brands make the same splash for themselves?

Although the idea can’t exactly be replicated for branded partnerships and ads, the idea of standing out in a crowd remains the same. Influencer Marketing is becoming a saturated space, where most campaigns in any one industry look similar. For example, beauty shots often look really alike. An influencer selfie advertising a highlighter for tréStiQue might look exactly the same as a selfie advertising a Highlighter for Bobbi Brown. Brands and agencies are having to be more creative in order to stop someone in their scrolling.

So, how can brands use the Fyre Festival IM strategy to reach their consumers? First, influencers will have to become comfortable with stepping away from their curated feeds and focus on individual posts. When we follow hundreds of fashion bloggers, we become desensitized to the clothes they’re actually wearing and at the very most just admire the colors while scrolling past, even when the influencer thinks the photo harmonizes their own page. Many bloggers pride themselves on their page’s “grid” cohesion, but very rarely do followers actually go to a page and admire their overall collection. That means that the actual viewing experience (in-feed) is more important to the consumer.

Just as the orange square stopped Instagram users in their tracks, content for campaigns needs to have elements of noteworthiness. The ideas need to be new and different.

Second, as IM becomes desirable for more brands by the day, the space is going to be riddled with illegitimate companies. This means the space and Influencers themselves need to become familiar with brands before working with them. That, we think, will transition into more personal choices about who influencers work with. The industry will become even more fine-tuned and consumers will feel they’re getting a more authentic selection of products by their favorite influencers. This will also force brands to roll out reliable and quality products.

The Fyre Festival itself was a disaster due to ill-equipped people in charge, but the Influencer portion leading up to the event was exceptional and like none other before it.

Now, imagine how powerful the Influencer Marketing could have been had it been backed up by a legitimate, awesome product.

Photo by: Brett Kincaid via W Magazine