Why Fyre Festival went down in flames.

The Fyre Festival debacle conclusively proves both that influencer marketing works and that sometimes we wish it wouldn’t.

ICYMI: What was supposed to be an idyllic music festival, one to surpass Coachella and Lollapalooza, turned into chaos as it lacked basic, functioning amenities. Attendees who paid $500 to $100,000 for the festival were met with unassembled cold cheese sandwiches, disaster-relief tents, and canceled shows.

Prior to all that, about five months ago, celebrities such as Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Emily Ratajkowski were offered free flights, accommodations, and tickets in exchange for promoting the event to their followers and fans. The models ventured down to the Bahamas for a photo shoot to promote the event and strike up interest among their massive followings.

Fyre Festival Models

Photo credit: Instagram

If nothing good comes from this event, at the very least it highlights the pain points in influencer marketing – when influencers are paid to promote events and products they don’t necessarily understand or care about. Influencers must be able to stand up for what they post and be passionate about what they’re doing. In this case, it was a simple transaction. These models were paid to post – end of story. This was not a sophisticated relationship or strategic partnership. Fyre Festival promised something it couldn’t deliver, and therefore the influencers promoted a festival that didn’t exist.

But wait, there’s more. The Federal Trade Commission requires influencers to clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products or events though social media. And now there’s a $100 million class lawsuit pending that includes accusations the Fyre organizers violated these regulations.

Lessons learned? Seek out influencers who are invested in your brand’s mission, and be sure to provide proper instructions on how to correctly tag posts. Interested in an example of how it’s done correctly? Head right over here.