Pants on Fyre: 5 Key Takeaways Marketers Can Learn from the Festival that Never Was

You guys. It’s here. We are deep in the midst of summer.

Love it or hate it, summer is the time of year that brings the heat, and if you’re lucky, some time off to unwind as well. But what is hands-down, one of the best things about this season? Music festivals. 

That’s right, Festival Season is upon us, and if you are a music lover like we are, this may be your favorite time of year. What’s not to love? Musical lineups, plenty of opportunities to vibe out to great tunes and enjoy the sun with friends.

But what if a music festival offered even more? 

When Billy MacFarland came up with the concept for the now ignominious Fyre Festival, he saw the enormous potential of what a “luxury” music festival like the Fyre Fest could have for expanding the reach of his credit card company Magnises. MacFarland partnered with rapper Ja Rule, among others, and began a partnership that drew in more and higher investing collaborators into the scheme.

In an event that boasted of influencers, celebrities, swag, and incredible music, all located on a private island, MacFarland had all the ingredients for a festival that would go down in history. And indeed it has… but for one incredibly unfortunate reason: the hotly anticipated Fyre Festival never actually happened. 

In one of the most embarrassing and expensive marketing messes in recent memory, the fraudulent Fyre Festival implicated tons of (now) shame-faced celebrities, destroyed businesses, and cost festival goers thousands of dollars, resulting in the most epic festival fail of our lifetimes. But you have to hand it to MacFarland’s marketing team, the festival hype was legendary, for reasons both good and very bad. 


Still, nothing is a total failure if you learn something from it, and the Fyre Festival has offered up some pretty incredible lessons for marketers everywhere. Here, in the spirit of Festival Season, we list some key takeaways that every marketer can learn from the festival that never was.

Takeaway #1: Know Your Target Market & Give Them What They Want

Stop. Picture the average festival goer in your imagination. Who are they? What do they need? And how could you get it to them? 

Any successful marketer knows that one of the first steps to creating a successful brand strategy is truly getting to know your potential clients and customers. 

MacFarland knew he wanted to attract the kind of audience who could not only be persuaded to book a flight to a private island filled with celebrities, but also those that would spend incredible amounts of money while there. The fact that there was a large demographic of millennials in attendance who were armed to the teeth with their parents’ plastic (or a metal Magnises card) was no accident. Ethics aside, developing a user persona for your target audience is a key part of having a strong marketing strategy.

Takeaway #2: Don’t Promise What You Can’t Deliver

Unless you’re Ja Rule, the fact that the Fyre Festival never actually happened has to make even the lesser involved collaborators cringe. 

What was promised to attendees as “luxury villas” ended up being shared geodesic survival tents from FEMA, with no electricity to speak of… and that was if festival goers even made it out of the airport at all. Suffice it to say, there was no luxury, and certainly no music. 

It can happen to the best of us. What starts off as an incredible idea needs to become more than that, especially when client budgets, timelines and a team is involved. You need more than an idea: you need actionable steps to put those ideas in place. In short, your product needs to match your promise.

Takeaway #3: Effective Marketing Gets People in the Feels

The Fyre Festival capitalized on prospective festival goers’ sense of FOMO to create an unmissable sensory experience for them. In effect, people were willing to front their life’s savings to go to this once in a lifetime event that they would be sure to tell their grandkids about, barring the fact that Ja Rule’s efficacy wouldn’t be lost on future generations, which is another story for another day. 

Psychology plays so strongly into buyer behavior, and marketers for the Fyre Fest knew that. What they got right was the effective play on their target audience’s desire to belong to something exclusive, making the end product incredibly tantalizing.

Takeaway #4: Strong Visuals Have the Power to Get Things in Action

Whether it’s a landing page or video content, user experience is important. And nothing quite engages a potential client like strong visuals.

There is a reason that MacFarland persuaded some of the biggest influencers in the game to take to Instagram and build hype around this untested festival. 

An intensely visual platform, Instagram is the perfect stage for getting gorgeous visual content to go viral. The surge in IGTV has only built out this platform tenfold. During that time, prospective festival attendees were lured into the dream of luxury, moderate debauchery, and the chance to hobnob with their favorite celebrities through, among other things, the Fyre Fest Instagram account.

The takeaway?  If effective marketing is the kingdom, strong visuals are the queen. With the limited attention span most users have, it’s crucial that the visuals command them into action.

Takeaway #5: Building Trust is Important

The final marketing takeaway takes form in what didn’t happen: Building a sense of trust with clients.

When Fyre essentially burned to the ground, it took everything with it.  Customer money, labor, and the livelihoods of the island workers. It’s a fact: errors can come with a big expense. For both businesses, and their clients. 

The market can sometimes be unpredictable, and as much as we’d all love not to, there are times when miscalculations are made. It’s not the end of the world, but being honest and taking responsibility is key. In Fyre’s case, no reparations were made to any of the victims–only further attempts to draw them into the scam. 

So what happens if you take a wrong step somewhere in your marketing strategy? Own up to it, revise your strategy, be better, and be thankful that it wasn’t a full-scale, buying a private island with borrowed funds-sized error.

Even if we can look back at some of the biggest fails of our time, or even look back at some of our own, it’s helpful to come back armed with the lessons that they can teach us in our future marketing strategy. And if you lose your way somewhere? Give us a shout… We’re here to help get you back on track. 

How to Write Copy That Actually Converts Customers

What does good copywriting really consist of, and why is it that way? In most cases, these questions can be answered with another question: does the copy you’re using right now convert customers?

How you position your brand, your product, your services, and even how your internal company is shared with the outside world all boils down to good copywriting and communication. It’s the one piece of the marketing puzzle that, when done well, can yield incredibly positive results. You know we love a good infographic — this latest one from Koeppel Direct dives into what exactly a direct response campaign is and how effective copywriting can make or break it.

Here’s a quick summary of what they cover within their key tips:

  • How to choose the amount of copy
  • Words to use (and avoid)
  • How to customize copy to campaign type
  • How to present value
  • How to demonstrate you can solve problems
  • How to create effective calls to action
  • How to test and update your campaigns

Check out the full infographic right here to learn more…

View the infographic source and see more from Koeppel Direct here.

Need help creating convincing copy for your upcoming marketing campaigns, social media posts, internal emails, or anything else? Get in touch with our team of experts to talk shop.

Visual Design Trends for 2019 That Marketers Need to Know [Infographic]

Visual Design Trends

There’s a lot competing for your attention on the Internet these days. From the vast number of ads strategically served to our favorite social sites, all the way to the amount of content produced and published every minute. With so much out there, it’s more important than ever to differentiate and draw attention with the use of visuals. With the right visual design elements, your online presence is literally proven to skyrocket — it can be as simple as tweaking the types of images you’re posting and sharing.

In 2019, visual design trends will be largely dictating our marketing efforts. While we can, it’s super important to absorb as much inspiration as we can and craft visual online strategies well. In this infographic from Deposit Photos, they break down the top visual design trends we all need to know in 2019.

Visual Design Trends


What are you looking forward to the most in the next year — more personalization? Environmental awareness? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to hear from you!


A version of this post was first published on the Digital Information World blog.

Creepy Meets Creative: The Best Halloween Marketing Campaigns We’ve Seen

halloween marketing campaigns

Halloween is here, and it’s the perfect time for businesses to get creative about dressing up their marketing campaigns. Whether through video, a challenge or even a well-orchestrated scare-prank to showcase the true quality of a product, really great marketing campaigns are interactive, engaging, and get people jumping into action — literally.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite Halloween marketing campaigns (of all time) just in time for the spookiest day of the year!

Burger King: The Nightmare King

What gives you nightmares? Is it losing your teeth? Falling into an infinite abyss? What about a burger that gives you actual nightmares? Burger King just released a burger for this year’s Halloween campaign that was scientifically proven to give their consumers nightmares. Don’t believe us? Take a look at this study. Over a period of ten days, scientists tested their “subjects” and invited them to try the specially combined ingredients and monitored their sleep. What they found was that REM cycles were definitely impacted. Nightmarish? For your own results, you’ll have to give it a try!

M&Ms: An M&Ms (Interactive) Ghost Story

In M&M’s Halloween Campaign last year, the candy giant created an interactive ghost story that was released in weekly installments. Why the weeklong delay?  The campaign, targeted at older kids, relied on a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style poll that allowed viewers to choose what happened next in the spooky tale. Whichever choice generated the most votes would be the next plot twist. Viewers shared the story all over social media in anticipation of the next week’s installment in the sweetest countdown to Halloween that we’ve ever seen.

LG: Fake Elevator Floor Prank

What better way to showcase a product than to show it in action? LG thought of a way to showcase the realistic color and sharp quality of its new IPS monitors by creating a fake floor, with picture quality so realistic it was actually terrifying to its users. As the saying goes: “So Real it’s Scary.”

Svedka: Halloween Curse

Can you think of anything more terrifying than being followed? Svedka can’t either, and it’s for this reason exactly that their creepy marketing campaign from last year works. Once you start scrolling through their site, the banner follows you everywhere you go online. Everywhere. The only way to break the curse is to pass it off to someone else by filling out their info in the creepiest lead capture imaginable. Creepy? Yes, definitely. But also scarily creative, and a tiny bit genius.

Oreo: The Oreo Laboratorium

Who says all Halloween campaigns have to be scary? In this adorable campaign from Oreo back in 2014, it relies on user-generated content (UGC) to drive its creativity. It’s as interactive as it is loveable and makes for a really great campaign!

Budweiser: The Budweiser Halloween Takeover

In one of the best campaigns we’ve seen, Budweiser is capitalizing on the fact that there is still a growing market for Halloween in countries outside of the US. In this campaign, it employs popular singer Kehlani to create a full Halloween anthem just for them, so that all 17 countries where Budweiser is sold can associate the whole holiday with their brand.

Ready to Knock ’em Dead?

If a marketing campaign isn’t getting your heart going, then it’s probably not going to inspire your clients, either. These Halloween campaigns are creepy, creative, and make the best use of the season.

Want some ideas on how to build up a marketing campaign for your business that kills it any time of the year? Don’t be afraid to get in touch with us!

25 Excellent Optimization Tips From SEO Specialists

SEO optimization tips

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something we’d classify as “gruelingly worth it.”

As part of such a dynamic, constantly shifting area of online marketing, it’s one specialty that takes life-long learning, and consistent education and testing in order to truly master. Even then, the strategy differs greatly from industry to industry, and business to business. While there are some set SEO best practices that should always be addressed, optimizing for search is a practice that’s never truly over.

If you’ve ever felt downtrodden from your SEO efforts, you’re not alone (far from it!). If you’re looking for some inspiration, motivation, or a fresh new tactic to try out for your own search engine activities, look no further than these tips and tricks from SEO experts around the world.

1. “SEO is much more than just rankings and traffic, it’s a complete marketing process from bringing in the right visitors to converting them into brand advocates. You can’t just pick one part of the process and expect your business to shine.”
— Moosa Hemani,

2. “Spend more time on promoting your content. I have the rule to devote more time marketing our content than writing it to get the most value out of each piece. Promote your content on social media both organically & paid.”
— Adam Rowles, Inbound Marketing

3. “Never underestimate the SEO power of refreshing and republishing your historically popular posts. Gently rewriting, or adding in more information or variety to the existing content is a solid strategy for bringing more high-quality traffic in via organic search.”
— Ariel Phipps, Oliver + Sons Digital Marketing

4. “Your competitors are your best friends in helping you boost up your site traffic.”
— Iftekhar Ahmed,

5. “Do competitor research in regards to links to see what kind of things your competitors are doing that are actually attracting links (as opposed to building their own links).”
— Marie Haynes, Marie Haynes Consulting

6. “Only a user-centered strategy is future-oriented. That is exactly what search engines want: Get the user the best search results. If it is useless for the user, it is useless for the business. Instead of trying to be smarter than the algorithm, focus even more on creating awesome and useful content for your customers.”
— Nina Baumann,

7. “The beauty of SEO is that, instead of pushing a marketing message onto folks who don’t want to hear what you have to say, you can reverse-engineer the process to discover exactly what people are looking for, create the right content for it, and appear before them at exactly the moment they are looking for it. It’s pull vs. push.”
— Cyrus Shepard, Fazillion Media

8. “Search engine marketing and search engine optimization are critically important to online businesses. You can spend every penny you have on a website, but it will all be for nothing if nobody knows your site is there.”
— Marc Ostrofsky, Author of Get Rich Click

9. It’s much easier to grow your business by getting more traffic than by playing with your conversion rate.
— Balazs Szilagyi

10. “To make search engines fall in love with your website, try to please your audience first, because search engines are also trying to do the same.”
— Shubhanshi Aggarwal,

11. “The reality is SEO can benefit from PR best practices and PR can benefit from SEO best practices.”
— Dave Lloyd, previously Adobe

12. “Search marketing, and most Internet marketing, in fact, can be very threatening because there are no rules. There’s no safe haven. To do it right, you need to be willing to be wrong. But search marketing done right is all about being wrong. Experimentation is the only way.”
— Mike Moran, Mike Moran Group

13. “A real estate agency in Wichita has no shot at ranking for the phrase “real estate;” a lawyer in Fresno has no shot at ranking for the word “lawyer.” Optimize for relevant, specific keywords that will bring targeted traffic.”
— Matt McGee, previously

14. “It is still important to pay attention to quality content vs. just content. Google is watching all the websites very closely and may penalize the websites with duplicate/thin/low-quality content.”
— Pratik Dholakiya, Preceptist

15. “Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about PARTNERING with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users.”
— Phil Frost, Main Street ROI

16. “You can’t just ‘SEO’ your website and be done. It’s a forever moving goal post.”
— Stoney deGeyter, Pole Position Marketing

17. “Think beyond commercial keywords. The majority of search engine users start with a question. Answer those questions. Make your content marketing stand out from the ever-growing crowd. Think of SEO as a list building and lead acquisition exercise and not just sell, sell, sell.”
— Marcus Miller, Bowler Hat

18. “Optimize for what would happen IF you ranked, do not optimize to rank.”
— Will Critchlow, Distilled

19. “Create quality backlinks ONLY from reputable sources. It’s important to understand that links from low-quality directories or other such sites will only get your website penalized. The harder it is to get a backlink, the more valuable it will be. Backlinks are still the most important metric for SEO, but their quality is what makes the difference between success and failure.”
— Felix Tarcomnicu, Monitor Backlinks

20. “On-page SEO is no longer satisfied by raw keyword use. Matching keywords to searcher INTENT is critical.”
— Rand Fishkin, SparkToro (formerly of Moz)

21. “Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.”
— Wendy Piersall

22. “When a site links to your blog or a post you’ve written, Google sees it as a recommendation to their readers, like a vote of confidence. Write great content that helps your audience, guest post on other blogs, feature in roundups, and you will get lots of backlinks. These will increase your ranking in Google’s searches and your domain authority.”
— Minuca Elana,

23. Good SEO work only gets better over time. It’s only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.
— Jill Whalen, High Rankings

24. “Never focus on building backlinks, focus on earning backlinks.”
— Naveen Kumar,

25. “Don’t invest it all in Google. You never know what’s coming down the line and, although we target traditional search engines (Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo), your users may not. Pay attention to social search, because it’s growing. Some people get their news from Facebook and Twitter. Others find out about products on Facebook or Instagram.”
— Gabriella Sannino, Level343


What are you doing to stay ahead of the SEO curveIs there a strategy you’re excited to test out soon?

We’d love to hear your thoughts or provide any SEO services where needed! 

This article was originally published on March 22, 2018.