30 May Three Things Influencer Marketing Pros Should Take Away From the Fyre Festival
Let’s set the scene: you’re an educated, 20-something with more disposable income than you know what to do with. You often spring for the best brands and you keep on top of the who’s who of the modeling / fashion world so you have your finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest. Your Instagram newsfeed is full of models to the likes of Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. One fateful day your feed is full of the hottest models all flaunting a video of what seems to be an extravagant getaway and music festival. At this point, you need to know what they’re involved in and naturally need to round up your “squad” to be part of it. Little do you know, you’re about to be part of a painful scam that was built purely to separate you from your money.
By now, we’re all familiar with Fyre Festival and the associated fiasco but let’s take a deeper dive into a few core business questions:
- How effective is influencer marketing?
- How important is FTC disclosure compliance in influencer marketing?
- How important is it for influencers to vet their sponsor opportunities?
First, it’s been cited that the Fyre Festival generated millions of dollars in revenue, purely as a result of their influencer marketing efforts. Considering there was little to no collateral for what we being sold other than the influencer posts and a website and there was no actual product, this goes to show you how high the ROI is on influencer marketing efforts.
Let’s talk for a minute on government regulation of influencer posting. The FTC offers guidelines about how paid advertisements can be incorporated in otherwise organic social media posting. The guidelines, while not set in stone, are crystal clear that any post that is paid for or otherwise compensated by an advertiser must be disclosed to the audience in the post. Several of the influencers involved with the promotion did not disclose that they were paid, leading to people seeing it believing that the influencer who posted about the festival was endorsing it or otherwise involved. When you put yourself in their shoes it’s obvious that they wouldn’t know better. A lawsuit filed against Fyre and these influencers cited that people believed this was the case and I’m happy to see that both the brand and influencers (who should all know better) are being held accountable.
In terms of responsibility for vetting the opportunity, the case can be made that the influencers involved had plausible deniability about how dire the situation was. While this may be true, it’s very common for people being offered large sums of money (Kendall Jenner received $250,000) to see dollar signs and not want to ask questions. What’s absolutely crucial for influencers going forward is to understand that even if they have no knowledge of fraud or other criminal acts taking place, it’s better to err on the side of caution especially if a deal feels too good to be true. While these influencers may come out unscathed in the court proceedings against them, it goes without saying that in the future if they see a deal they’re not comfortable with promoting they will want to think twice before posting to avoid the headache.
Always keep these core facts in mind to bring longevity to your influencer marketing operations and don’t hesitate to reach out to expert influencer marketing specialists to help you navigate complicated waters!