From time to time, I like to be your HR commentator related to your Netflix queue.
With that in mind, I have a must watch for you - Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.
This documentary is a primer on two things:
1--How to market and get buzz - which has implications for your employment and cultural brand at your company.
2--The peril of overpromising and underdelivering related to what's possible at your company.
Let's start with the following description of the Fyre Festival from WikiPedia:
Organized by Fyre Media founder Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule as a luxury music festival to promote the Fyre music booking app, the event was promoted on Instagram by "social media influencers" including socialite and model Kendall Jenner, model Bella Hadid, model and actress Emily Ratajkowski, and other media personalities, many of whom did not initially disclose they had been paid to do so. During the Fyre Festival's inaugural weekend, the event experienced problems related to security, food, accommodations and artist relations. Eventually, the festival was indefinitely postponed after some attendees had arrived, finding tents and prepackaged sandwiches, instead of the luxury villas and gourmet meals they had been promised when they paid thousands of dollars for admission.
As a result, the organizers are the subject of at least eight lawsuits, several seeking class action status, and one seeking more than $100 million in damages. The cases accuse the organizers of defrauding ticket buyers. On June 30, 2017, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York charged McFarland with one count of wire fraud. In March 2018, he pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud to defraud investors and a second count to defraud a ticket vendor. On October 11, 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to forfeit US $26 million for wire fraud.
Two documentaries about the events of the festival were released in 2019. Hulu released an original documentary, Fyre Fraud, on January 14, 2019. On January 18, Netflix released Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.
More of my readers have Netflix than Hulu, so I'm focused on the Netflix Documentary covering Fyre. Here's the trailer (email subscribers click through if you don't see the video below):
The Netflix documentary is worth 90 minutes of your time. It's world class seminar on how to use video, imagery and social to create buzz and demand. One of the things you'll find as you watch is that the organizers of Fyre created demand from thin air by paying influencers (models) to come to the Bahamas for a long weekend and shoot hours of video. Once they had that raw footage in the bag, they created the promo video below (again, click through to site if you don't see the video below).
Once they had the video, the 20+ influencers in the campaign all posted an orange tile on Instagram with a link to the festival registration page. The festival sold out in 10 hours, and the rest of the show is how it all went to hell.
I like this Netflix special for my HR and recruiting flock for the following reasons:
1--Most of you aren't doing enough to showcase the positives to your employment brand.
2--There's some best practices you can learn from the Fyre Festival. The imagery gets you thinking...
3--It's clear that Fyre overpromised and dramatically underdelivered.
4--Most of you will treat that as a cautionary tale to keep doing nothing when it comes to being a promoter or marketer of your employment brand. That would be a mistake.
Have fun watching the Netflix joint on the Fyre Festival. Be in awe of how wrong everything went.
Then get off your butt and start figuring out a way to market your company better. Learn from some masters without becoming ethically challenged - or in jail.
BONUS - name 1 Ja Rule song without looking it up and I'll give you a mention on this blog and Fistful of Talent.