What The Fyre Festival Got Right

The Importance of Targeted Digital Marketing

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re familiar with the trainwreck that was the Fyre Festival. Whether you’ve watched the documentaries, fell down the Twitter rabbit hole, or have a socialite acquaintance who was duped by the chimera that was Fyre Festival.

It’s easy to condemn Billy McFarland and his team, who duped thousands of people into flying straight into a scene from a dystopian thriller, but to do so is to ignore the fact that the Fyre team successfully targeted and engaged their audience, and ultimately sold out the “luxury” festival solely through digital marketing.

Wondering how they (almost) pulled it off? Here’s how Fyre Festival utilized audience targeting, location, and contextual imagery to sell itself (and how you can too!).

Audience Targeting

If you’ve been involved in marketing your business in any way, you understand the importance of effectively identifying and understanding your target audience. For Fyre Festival, this was a bit of a no-brainer. Affluent millennials (AKA spoiled 20-somethings) comprise the majority of similar music festivals such as Coachella and Outside Lands.

Along with demographics, Fyre Festival marketers used interest targeting to create the ultimate teaser video to announce the festival. Bikini-clad supermodels, multimillion-dollar yachts and lavish surroundings attracted aspiring festival A-listers far and wide.

Location + Context

In addition to drawing in the ideal festival crowd, Fyre Festival’s teaser video documented the location of the festival, a private island in the Bahamas. While the festival was ultimately relocated, the video is laden with B-roll of white sand beaches, bluer than blue water, and, of course, Pig Beach. The idea of attending a VIP festival on a beach is enticing, but capturing the exact location that festival-goers can expect to visit, the exact sites they will see, and the exact villas they’ll stay in – this is how the Fyre Festival team was able to convert their audience from “intrigued” to “bought in”.

Fast-forward some 36 months after the release of the now-infamous teaser video, and we now know that the Bahamian paradise captured in the video was nowhere near reflective of what Fyre Fest attendees experienced. Although McFarland’s team failed to deliver on the promises made in the teaser, it does demonstrate the incredible business opportunity that lies in effective audience targeting through interests, location, and context.

The Takeaway

While we’re not encouraging business to mislead their audience, we do think there is something to be said for the savvy marketing strategy of Fyre Festival.

At Shotzr, we help digital marketers not only reach, but connect with their target audience through contextual imagery based on location, demographic, and interest data.

Want to learn more about how using targeted creative can improve your digital marketing results? Schedule a demo with us today!

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