What happened with Fyre Festival is not a problem with marketing

Chris Marr
Jan 27 · 2 min read

After seeing all the hype amongst marketers we decided to watch the Fyre documentary on Netflix.

It’s was moderately entertaining, but why are we all so shocked and surprised about what happened and how it happened?

A psychopath named Billy McFarland tried to rip a bunch or people off. The project was a disaster. He’s a criminal. So what?

Fyre Festival doesn’t represent a problem with marketing or advertising, it’s a story about one person who exploited and manipulated a lot of people.

Unfortunately this is the world we live in. For centuries and millennia people have behaved like this. Politicians, celebrities, bankers…every continent, and every city. We’re all familiar with this behaviour. We should be aware of it, but we shouldn’t be shocked by it.

Particularly in modern day times — the last 50–60 years with advertising. Companies use the latest trends in marketing and advertising and rip people off. Yip, the majority of companies want to run a legitimate business, but there’s always that small percentage that take advantage of people for their own ends.

However, with Fyre, McFarland took advantage of his own friends too.

It seems to me that it was just a matter of time until McFarland found himself in this situation. He had no idea what he was doing, and he didn’t think about anyone else but himself from the very start. No clue how his idea and vision might impact other people. No empathy whatsoever.

He isn’t an entrepreneur. He’s a criminal, con-man and fraudster. A sociopath and a psychopath.

We only watched this because of the hype around it. And that’s exactly what this is. Hype. It’s news. It’s trivial. It has no bearing on me, or you, or our lives or the life of your friends and family. It’s just noise. And we all need less noise in our lives.

Yes, lots of people were manipulated. Lots of people lost money. And all because of the manipulative behaviour of one person.

I wasn’t surprised by any of it (apart from the story about the Evian, which was McFarland’s lowest point).

My challenge for you is to think clearly about why you’re shocked or surprised by this?

Why are people in marketing and social media blowing up about it?

Is it really ‘mind blowing’?

Fyre doesn’t represent a problem with marketing.

Let’s see this for what it is, shall we?

Netflix have turned Billy McFarland into a celebrity. They’ve documented the story of a fraudster and made him famous as a result. This behaviour shouldn’t be glorified.

Billy McFarland is a psychopathic criminal and a terrible entrepreneur. Don’t feel sorry for him.

Can we move on now?

Chris Marr

Written by

Human being. Dad to Spencer & Luna. Doing more of what makes me happy. Award winning content marketer and community creator. Embracing slow.