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  • Writer's pictureKate Talbot

What the Fyre Festival Documentaries Reveal About Millennials

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Hulu and Netflix recently launched their highly anticipated documentaries on the infamous Fyre Festival which was to be a two-weekend immersive music festival that quickly turned to disaster. These eye-opening documentaries Fyre Fraud and Fyre give viewers a glimpse into the execution of Fyre Festival -- which promised A-list music acts, Instagram models, and yacht parties -- yet, instead failed to deliver on any of their promises leading attendees to flee the Bahamas as soon as they could.

What was prevalent for viewers throughout both of these documentaries were insights into the value system of the millennial generation. These three themes help to explain how this immersive music festival became the hottest ticket in 2017 for millennials.

Instagram Influencers Have Clout

With over ⅓ of millennials and Gen Z trusting an influencers word over a brand, it’s no surprise that social media influencers and models like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner had a tremendous impact on the sales and marketing of the festival. The marketing teams including those from Jerry Media produced social video content that crafted a narrative of exclusivity and opulence all from leveraging social media. They did this by having 400 in-demand influencers with millions of followers post an orange tile on Instagram leading to a promo video and including the hashtag #FyreFestival that garnered over 300 million impressions in 24 hours.

Creating an illusion through social media video and influencer relationships, propelled many millennials to purchase tickets to what they thought would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to be on the forefront of the next generation of music festivals.

Emphasis On Exclusive Experiences

Throughout the documentaries, a common theme persisted on why so many people bought tickets from just watching a promo video, and that is FOMO (fear of missing out). With social media being a constant driver of millennials everyday lives, many derive their intrinsic value from the amount of engagement they get from posting on social media channels like Instagram. The documentary showcased how millennials were willing to spend a fair amount of money on the Fyre Festival experience so that they could have Instagram posts that their friends and followers were not able to have. With VIP tickets selling for up to $12,000, many millennials invested a lot of their money so that they could be part of and capture for social media an exclusive experience.

Constant Capturing Of Content

Billy McFarland, Founder of Fyre Festival in Netflix’s Fyre states, “The more footage, the better.” This rings incredibly true as the whole process from launch announcement to the festival was captured on video --- both professionally and through social media. As Instagram Stories has over 400 million users, millennials are constantly capturing real-time content throughout their daily lives. With attendees posting about the real cuisine of cheese sandwiches and FEMA tents for accommodations these social media posts led to the failure of the festival going viral and Twitter trending topics of #FyreFraud and #FyreFail.

With mobile usage and social media addiction at an all-time high, there is no denying the impact that Stories can have within any event experience, and in this case, it was a definite negative for the organizers. 

The Next Act

Fyre Festival was clearly a disaster and a scam. However, for marketers, these tactics of

tapping into Instagram influencers, producing FOMO experiences, and capturing social media content, can help connect to millennials for product launches or event execution.

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