Fyre Festival: Teaching us the Power of Social Media

Fyre Festival: Teaching us the Power of Social Media

Not only are we suckers for the newest documentaries, but when you hear that there is one on both Hulu and Netflix about the same event, our natural instinct is to binge watch BOTH. Many would not think that a documentary about a failed luxury music festival could relate to digital marketing for higher education, but I am here to tell you what we can learn after watching.

For those that don’t already know, Fyre Festival was a luxury music festival in 2017 which failed and led to the conviction of Billy McFarland, the creator, for fraud. Many would call it a scam, and others would call it the power of influencers and digital marketing.

I am here to break down some of the genius moves on social media that lead to both the rise and downfall of the festival.

Power of Influencers

The current generation plus the addition of social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have created an outlet for influencers to have more power than ever anticipated in marketing. This documentary allows us to take a peek into the lives of the millennial generation, and how they connect with these influencers. Even when provided little to no information about the product, these influencers create a bridge making the power of the message that much more relatable.

This relates to higher education because we are able to create that same connection with our potential students. We can ask ourselves, what will drive their excitement so that they are willing to take action? It is important to make sure that your marketing aligns with what you are trying to sell and create a fluid image your audience wants to be apart of. Millenials have shown us they trust and connect with these images more than traditional marketing campaigns, making it a perfect platform to connect (if they are willing to go to a deserted island, i’m pretty sure they will go to a college visit).

Disrupting the Feed

So you may ask, what sparked the interest of thousands of people to buy these extreme packages? And the answer is simple…an orange square, and FOMO (fear of missing out). This picture of a bright box posted by influencers was all that the future attendees needed to stop them from scrolling through their feed and dive deeper into the festival. Not only did it cause them to stop, it created a desire to find out what was behind the picture.

What does this mean for higher education? It doesn’t necessarily matter what you are marketing, but the way that you are marketing your products. With 95 billion pictures posted each day, how do you get the attention of the millennial so that they want to engage? By breaking up the status quo and creating something remarkable and memorable, even if it’s just an orange square.


Building Hype

One of the significant factors that tied together this whole event was the promo video. In this video they were able to not only disrupt the feed, and use influencers, but created exclusivity and intrigue that millennials were searching for. So in terms of marketing they found out what the target market was searching for and created an emotional bond with them. As for higher education, similar to the festival, you can show how your experiences are unique, different, and worth noting.

Fyre Festival used the marketing motto of “an experience that exceeds all expectations.” By taking this quote we can learn how to create something that is seemingly known and turn it into something extraordinary. By applying this same hype and unique draw, you are able to create a platform where people want to participate and talk, spreading your message farther than you imagined.

Overall this documentary shows the importance of the content that higher education platforms need to be posting on social media. By constantly delivering content to your audience it makes them want real time experiences and for an advantage over their users to have that exclusivity.

Although social media is a great way to create transparency between you and your market, when used the wrong way, like in this event, it can lead to failure. The downfall to this event ultimately was that marketers didn’t follow through on what they were promising. So if you are able to create a cohesion between your idea and and the way you present it then you can create a successful marketing campaign that speaks to the younger generation.

Madeline Dostal
Madeline Dostal
February 28, 2019