There are many dark lessons in both the Hulu and Netflix documentaries about the infamous Fyre Festival fiasco. From fraud to fame, these lessons criticize and condemn the millennial generation.
After watching both documentaries, the criticism is on the money. As a millennial, I'm ashamed and sickened at what we've become. A generation full of questionable values.
From the likes of social media coupled by the need for exclusivity, these values we hold so high in life are our own worst enemy. Essentially, they were the lifeblood and vision Billy McFarland, CEO of Fyre, had when creating Fyre Festival. Ultimately, it was McFarland who unequivocally exploited what millennials wanted and loved.
Millennials were blinded by an early promise, a promotional video that tapped into all their desires. Hit with this luxurious festival filled with famous supermodels, private jets, and yachts all on this beautiful remote island in the tropics, millennials were sold.
Dubbed as an "immersive experience,” this music festival in the Bahamas wasn’t more than an idea. It was a fantasy spearheaded by one of the greatest social media marketing campaigns the public has seen.
By leveraging celebrity influencers like Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, and Bella Hadid, McFarland and his team were able to lurer millennials with FOMO (fear of missing out). Sadly, this campaign worked. Within hours, Fyre Fest was sold out.
Consequently; it showed who holds the real power, celebrity influencers. They hold a God complex in today’s culture and the relationship they have with their followers seems unbreakable. New research reveals, “One in three people trust an influencer’s words over what a brand says.”
Marketers today, like Jerry Media, the company who produced the Fyre campaign “weaponized social media.” McFarland and his team paid Kendall Jenner $250,000 for a single Instagram post that had hashtag Fyre Festival. It ultimately paid dividends for Fyre Fest.
Thousands of millennials bought these ridiculously priced tickets with millions more wishing they could. As a result, this proved that power of influence is real and alive. Each documentary admonishes how susceptible millennials were, how their own values were easily turned against them. Whether it was Instagram, influencers, or the “next great act,” they all fueled the hype surrounding Fyre Fest.
Learning about this, has now made me question the whole role social media has in my life. Millennials like myself have this toxic relationship with social media, prompting our inner Machiavellian egos. Fyre Fest was a spectacle, one that has reminded me of a specific Shakespeare passage I read in college.
It personifies not only the entire Fyre Fest narrative, but also the allure social media has on pretty much anyone who is tapped into the world of likes, hearts, hashtags, and retweets.
All the world’s a stage. And all men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts…
William Shakespeare: As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7
Using Shakespeare’s passage, millennials virtually are actors playing different roles on the stage of life when we post on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Those who follow the Kardashians and Jenners of the world are masquerading their own identity in favor of ritualizing celebrity influencers.
McFarland understood this affect, the importance the influencer market and social media have in millennials lives. He used social media to elevate the festivals fame, yet it ironically backfired turning Fyre Fest into a legend, “a modern day con.” When guests arrived at the campgrounds, the festival had blown up in flames.
Ironically, Fyre Fest went viral overnight the same way it went viral with its promotional video. Only this time, people were tweeting about how “medieval” and “post-apocalyptic” the experience had turned out. Despite McFarland’s con, I feel no sympathy nor remorse for those who bought tickets and went. It's in documentaries like Fyre and Fyre Fraud that truly set millennials back years.
As a 23-year-old, I cannot defend my generations ugly stigmas or narcissistic behaviors. Listening to 20-year-olds that quit their jobs because their bosses wouldn’t give them time off or selling everything they own, just to go to this fantasy island is a joke. Yes, McFarland scammed a lot of people, but millennials need to seriously take long look at some of their values.
Thousands ended up going even when there were clear signs pointing to the festival being a disaster, signs like Calvin Wells' Fyrefraud Twitter account. Seriously, nobody listened to this man while the rest of America listened to some kid's tweet about toast and cheese.
That’s typical of millennials to sacrifice logic over not missing an exclusive experience. Both documentaries not only provide us with deeper insights into what millennials value, they informed us about the type of people we’ve ultimately become. Susceptible sheep baited by con artists of the same age.
Think I’m too harsh? If you have time to watch one, watch Netflix’s Fyre. I truly hope it will encourage everyone, regardless if you are a millennial or not, to reconsider the “next great act.”
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