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6 Lessons I Learned After Watching FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

By: Ginger Marks – Social Media Manager






Before we delve into the valuable lessons taken from the Fyre Festival fiasco, let’s state the obvious caveats—basically, don’t be a criminal:

  • Don’t lie to your investors.
  • Don’t embezzle millions of dollars from your customers.
  • Don’t lie to your employees and vendors.
  • Don’t withhold pay from your employees and vendors.

Easy enough.


After watching Netflix’s documentary, “FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” not only was I entangled in the trending articles and memes that came from this disaster, but I realized it wasn’t all bad. There are actual ways you can say “yes” to the social media marketing efforts that came from it.


Stick with me here.

1.Use influencers

Unless you have $250,000, you may not be able to afford Haylie Baldwin, Kendall Jenner, or Bella Hadid, but you certainly want to find micro-influencers for your brand. Forbes calls it the marketing force of the future! And we agree. Have a new product? Want to get your website out into the world? Take the time to research hashtags, Instagram handles, and bloggers to find the influencer that’s perfect for you. Many of them take product as payment or will accept a reasonable payment. Budget, research, and outline a contract that shows EXACTLY what you are looking for and hiring an influencer will be one of the best decisions you made.

 2. Create viral campaigns

Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm! A lot of agencies do not take enough time to sit together as a team and share ideas on what their next and best thing is going to be. One of the first campaigns the Fyre team put together is encouraging everyone to share a single orange tile on their Instagram account with the hashtag #FyreFestival. All it takes is one simple idea to cause everyone to look twice.

Image: Instagram/bellahadid

Image: Instagram/bellahadid















3. Get authentic footage:

“Let’s just film around the clock,” – Billy McFarland. This may be the only quote we can trust from this guy. Video content is KING on social media platforms today, and if you aren’t spending time recording your team, your brand, your events, you’re missing out on huge engagement opportunities. “80% of marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing. Video alone at 63%, has also surpassed blogging (60%) in usage as a social media marketing asset.” ( In the documentary, one of the Fyre team’s videographers, Brett Kincaid tells us, “I’ve said this multiple times, the real Fyre festival happened twice and it was the shoots. It just happened to happen for 60 people versus 6,000.” If you can authentically capture what you want in your video content, whether it’s a commercial, a digital short, or an Instagram story, you can capture your audience. Just don’t be like Fyre Festival and actually give your consumer what they see.

4. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is

TRUST YOUR GUT. If you are dealing with an overzealous sales guy, take heed. Basically, the festival was a disaster from the start. They “bought” an island without even considering if it would accommodate their festival attendees—and their sanitary needs. It was all about creating an image of luxury and desire. Don’t be fooled by sales tactics that oversell and underdeliver. Several of the employees interviewed in the documentary were simply fooled by the enthusiastic and energetic McFarland. Take your time, do your research, and ask yourself, “Does this make sense for my company to pursue?” Here at BrandStar, our focus is always on you and your brand. We have lots of services, but if it doesn’t make sense to your goals, we simply won’t offer it to you.

5. EVERY brand can use a trending topic

Where was your brand when #FyreFestival first happened? When it all came crashing down, did you join the conversation? You may think that a small business like yourself has no business talking about something that didn’t happen to you or your core demographic. However, I present to you Exhibit A. This is GENIUS social media! It’s clever, it’s on-brand, and it’s turning a trending topic on its head and making it about your brand. If Sherwin Williams did it, you should too! Join us on our BrandStar Facebook page and hear more about trending topics from my talk at our recent Dominate Your Industry live event.

Exhibit A:



6. Allow the good to come from the bad

Even after all the lies, disaster, disorganization and misinformation, people came together for the Bahamians. A GoFundMe was created for Maryann Rolle, the caterer who got stiffed, along with her employees who worked day and night to feed the ill-fated festival’s organizers and attendees and were never compensated. The page’s goal has been supremely surpassed.


Now that’s a happy ending we can all get behind.

If you haven’t watched the documentary yet, I highly recommend it. Join the conversation and learn a few lessons along the way. You never know what may come from it.


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