What The FYRE Festival Fail Teaches Us About Ideas

22 Jan What The FYRE Festival Fail Teaches Us About Ideas

Just WOW! Watching Netflix FYRE Festival* was mind-blowing. There were moments I sat dumbfounded wondering why someone didn’t pull the plug. I wondered why there were so few “No” people. I marveled that Billy McFarland could keep going and not see what an epic disaster this was going to be. Is he crazy or delusional or both?


One thing the FYRE Festival did get right was marketing.
The execution was the demise!


They knew their demographic was millennials. They knew that this demo could be reached through social media. Not via paid ads and slick cable TV commercials. They choose top social media influencers. The beautiful people of Instagram frolicked along a private island, partied on a boat surrounded by aqua blue waters, partied by the light of a bonfire.

Those millennials in their small cubicles in NYC, or rural colleges in cold Ohio, were shooting ducks. They paid between $500 and $12,000 (and lots of additional upgrades going up to $250,000) to be a part of that world.

Day of the launch a coordinated effort was made to flood the message on the accounts of the social media influencers. They all posted a cryptic orange image and message with the hashtag #FyreFestival. Those orange squares caught the attention of millions of followers and tickets started moving! According to the FYRE Festival ticket vendor, Tablelist, they sold 3.5 Million in tickets.


Problem is, you don’t execute a plan, you don’t LAUNCH your product until it’s been tried and tested. They didn’t even have a real budget. Damn, they launched this expensive social media blitz, THEN sat down to talk logistics. Again, WOW.


How do you not start at the end goal and build from there?

We are an idea company, a creative company. We have ideas for our own company. We brainstorm ideas with clients. We come up with ideas for personal passion projects, shoot, who doesn’t have ideas. Who doesn’t get swept up in IDEAPHORIA? It’s fun to follow along the stream of idea consciousness and imagine how your idea is the BEST idea and will make you millions UNTIL the other idea comes then the other…and the other.

What They Wanted It To Be

The Reality

So here’s the deal about ideas.

When you have an idea that is solid, one that speaks to your soul, look at it from EVERY ANGLE! Ask yourself what is the end goal? Once you know what the end is, build backward. Create the tasks and timelines to get IT DONE. No, it’s not sexy to do admin stuff, and filling out spreadsheets, and looking at numbers, and managing others. Well, not as sexy as the idea/dreaming part. It’s also not sexy to be a colossal failure, or wast precious time, and precious money. It’s especially not sexy to waste others time and money. It’s actually just plain rude.

Ideas fall into two categories:

  1. Something that floats around in your head, or in and out of your conversation. It becomes a dream that never takes shape either because you weren’t motivated enough to pursue or it ended up losing its appeal.
  2. The first step in creating a roadmap for success.

And in closing…

The FYRE Festival was a unique idea that was marketed to perfection. It could have been successful had they understood what everything would cost, and mapped out what had to be done to make it happen. The execution was the downfall.

Unfortunately, there were many innocent “bystanders” who took a hit from this event. As a marketing company we are ever mindful that our clients hire and trust us to get the work done that we contract to do.  We work hard with their interests in mind. We are the best stewards of their monetary and time investment and their ideas.


AND A FEW LITTLE ADDONS…for your enjoyment…


*Never heard of the FYRE Festival? According to Fashionista, it is an “immersive music festival takes place on Fyre Cay in the Exumas, a string of islands in the Bahamas. A private plane will fly ticket holders from Miami to this private island where they’ll spend the next 48 hours enjoying music (the headliners and lineup have yet to be announced.”


No Comments

Post A Comment