Unless you’re living under a virtual rock, you’ve probably heard of the failed art and music festival, the Fyre Festival. What was supposed to be an elitist opportunity to see epic live performances and bump elbows with the upper echelon turned into a failure that has left most people in awe of how it ever got so bad.
Netflix and Hulu have both released tell-all documentaries (although we’ve only seen the Netflix movie) which reveal unfathomable facts about cash flow, employee expectations and how far event organizers were willing to go to avoid impending peril.
The one thing that has boggled our minds was the incredible roster of influencers promoting the festival that have been able to move on with new sponsored work as if they didn’t entirely mislead, and even endanger, their fans by recommending an experience that they themselves didn’t even attend.
Fyre Festival’s pitch deck has hit mainstream media, and upon our own review, we could see how evident these influencer’s involvement was in the success of the festival. Considered the “Fyre Tribe,” this high-paid and affluent group of models, personalities and bloggers are among the biggest names in high-dollar marketing and advertising.
Their power in influencing consumer choice is apparent by their social media content: partnerships, paid campaigns and millions of “loyal fans” all formed around these people’s ability to move product on behalf of their partner brands. While that is the name of the digital marketing game, we have to consider the high dollar amounts and follower counts at play here: both in the millions.
Although subpoenas began going out at the end of last month to involved influencers including Kendall Jenner, there’s one thing a court ruling won’t be able to fix: people were paid well to lie.
As W Magazine reported, “Jenner is set to receive a subpoena for her part in a $11.3 million payout from McFarland, and IMG Models will get hit with a subpoena regarding $1.2 million and the promotional videos that involved their clients including Hadid, Bieber, and Elsa Hosk.”
While we wish for no one’s career to be destroyed for their involvement in a situation that was truly out of their hands, we do need to ask: do these influencers still deserve our attention and commitment? Is their word really worth millions of dollars when it’s been proven to be baseless?
We don’t have the answers, but we believe in raising the questions. One thing we do know: this whole situation has opened up a wave of opportunities for micro-influencers to use their genuine, authentic voices and platforms to help their fans make reasonable, fun, safe and realistic buying choices.