Content Marketing Specialist

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How Fyre’s Organizers Used ‘Influencers’ To Market A Festival That Didn’t Exist


As you may have heard, the inaugural Fyre Festival, touted as “the next Coachella” but with luxurious amenities and a high price tag to match, was canceled before festivities could even get started. The initial waves of guests arrived at the private island in the Caribbean and the social media storm started with reports of shelters still being under construction, little food and water and the entire grounds looking nothing like the shiny, pretty social media posts all the models and celebrities had been pushing for months. And- funny, none of the celebs, or “influencers”, nicknamed “the Fyre Tribe”,  who’d been posting that they were on their way to the festival were to been seen. Then, not only did they never show up for the entire few days that was the disaster that was Fyre Festival, but the majority of the influencers deleted any materials related to Fyre Festival.

This type of social media promotion opens the doors to a lot of gray area in advertising. that is typically monitored by the FTC. Recently, the FTC has been getting more involved with social media “influencers” in regards to disclosing whether or not a post is paid. Last August, AdAge posted this article about the FTC crack down on social posts. NPR found that in regards to Fyre Festival, the remaining posts that had yet to be taken down, “each post we reviewed seemed to run afoul of Federal Trade Commission rules around paid promotion may come to haunt the Fyre Tribe.” And while no lawsuit has been brought against any individuals for false advertising or failure to disclose yet, it could still happen. As Instagram, Snapchat and other social media continues to grow in the paid advertising or endorsement route, it will be interesting to see what kind of FTC rules and other regulations are put into place similar to traditional media and the evolution of what makes an “influencer”.