Fyre Influencers Subpoenaed, Ernest Sturm of Runway Influence Shares How It Could’ve Been Avoided

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The Fyre Festival rollercoaster hasn’t stopped yet. Recent reports confirm that models and famous personalities who have promoted the music festival online are now being subpoenaed as investigations continue.

According to sources, influencers who promoted the event are being subpoenaed as investigations on the failed event which has scammed millions of dollars from investors and festival attendees continue.

These stars with millions of followers who posted about the event on social media may soon be forced to reveal details about their contracts. Millions of dollars-worth of endorsement payments were made to the influencers, including Kendall Jenner who was reportedly paid $250,000 for one post. Investigators would like to understand the financial affairs of the event.

There are also suits filed against the influencers themselves for “misinterpretations.”

One of the complaints noted that, "without the widespread and uniform dissemination of the false promise” by the personalities, people would not have bought tickets to the festival, dubbed as the “greatest party that never happened.”

Fyre Festival Fiasco

In 2017, young charismatic entrepreneur, McFarland partnered with rapper, Ja Rule, to put up a music festival like no other. Set in the Great Exuma island in the Bahamas, Fyre Festival was scheduled for two whole weekends in April and May. It was top-billed by famous artists like Blink 182 and Migos.

In an effort to amp up talks about Fyre, they tapped 400 of the hottest, most famous influencers with an expected total reach of 300 million. The marketing campaign was a massive success. With Kendal Jenner being its top influencer, thousands of tickets to the event were easily sold. But then the ugly started to happen.

The festival was nowhere near what the influencers had promised — the luxurious getaway felt like a nightmare; the VIP experience was more of torture. The festival attendees were swindled out of thousands of dollars.

While McFarland has been sentenced to six years in jail with a forfeiture of $26 million, the nightmare isn’t over for the influencers who posted its infamous orange tile two years ago.

Are influencers to blame?

After the festival proved to be a disaster, to say the least, several of the big names who endorsed Fyre apologized online. Bella Hadid, in a now-deleted tweet, apologized to her followers for agreeing “to do one promotion.”

Jenner, who has remained mum about the incident, has also deleted all of her posts. Model Shanina Shaik admitted to crying after watching the Netflix and Hulu documentaries about Fyre. People who have watched both films have also slammed the influences on social media, saying that they were as much to blame for misleading their followers.

@RunwayInfluence CEO Ernest Sturm believes that issues like this could’ve been avoided if proper discussions and client screenings were made prior to the campaign. His influencer marketing agency has worked on social media campaigns for some of the biggest brands, and Sturm explained that clients should pass through an assessment process before they can work with its pool of influencers. It’s also important to establish a good working relationship with both the brand and the personality.

“It’s as important to screen the client as it is to screen the influencer. It’s of utmost important to make sure they complement each other,” Sturm shared.

Following the whole fiasco, safety measures are being reinforced to make sure nothing as dreadful as this will happen again. Regulations on posting ads on social media are strictly enforced for the benefit of users. Additional options on platforms for branded content have also been released to easily distinguish a sponsored content from a regular post. These measures aim to ensure that the Fyre Fiasco will remain a distant nightmare.

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