If not, in short, Fyre Festival was founded by a young entrepreneur named Billy McFarland and his partner, rapper Ja Rule. These two had the dream of creating the best music festival in the world (or, at least better than Coachella), and making a lot of money off of their target audience — “average losers. Your average guy in middle-America.”
This proposed luxury music festival would take place in the Bahamas on a private island once owned by Pablo Escobar. The island would hold two weekends with glamorous camping experiences, private jet flights on and off of the island, celebrities, social media influencers and popular musicians (Disclosure, GOOD Music, Blink 182 and Major Lazer) were all lined up to perform. This weekend was the perfect getaway for all of the yuppies that could afford it. But sometimes, dreams are exactly that: dreams.
Fyre did everything wrong, but when it comes down to it, they did a lot right in the very beginning.
The marketing, advertising and public relations of the music festival was extremely polished and highlighted all of the exciting things that were to happen at the expensive weekend abroad. The Fyre Festival media team AKA Jerry Media created on-brand visuals with a burnt orange tile that intrigued potential customers, videos that made viewers feel as if they were there and social media posts that led up to the festival. As a public relations firm, we typically find that business owners or those putting on events don’t make time to promote what is so dang good about them and the work they do in the first place! Fyre Festival did the complete opposite of what is usually done, they invested in the hype instead of the reality of putting on something pleasurable for attendees.
The buzz created about the festival all began with a trailer featuring the world’s most popular models and influencers. Due to the Fyre team hiring influencers with large audiences on social media platforms and promising their loyal followers a fun and unique weekend. The party sold out which is extremely unusual for a music festival’s first year. Something was different about this festival from the beginning. It was very likely that the amenities with the festival were a part of the reason the tickets were snatched up so quickly; Yachts, cabanas, gourmet food and brunch with Kendall Jenner were all promised if you attended the festival. Those are hard to turn down if you’ve ever attended a festival with a general admission and have to stand in a sweaty crowd and eat corndogs and pizza. Fyre Music Festival was all about exclusivity.
If Fyre Festival had been diligent about what was realistic and what was just too hard to make reality on the island from the beginning as well as being honest then the festival could’ve possibly been slightly less of a catastrophe. The number one PR rule these entrepreneurs and their colleagues broke was don’t ever lie. Ever. It’s PR 101.
Before you even think about spending money on advertising your product or service, perfect it first. We have found with every type of public relations effort, if the client is not prepared for the preconceived expectations of customers it is a lose-lose situation. Bad complaints, so-so reviews and diminishing customer loyalty from early on can all be the kiss of death for any type of company. This is why it is important to view your options and go with a PR firm that will analyze your situation, then believes in your message and knows how to correctly convey it to the public. The moral of the story is that no matter how amazing and captivating your advertising and public relations are, your product has to be just as good if not better. If you’ve followed these steps, then there is no doubt that your company will catch Fyre — in a good way.