Exhibition News March 2019 - Page 28

Feature The good, the bad and the selfie Instagram has enormous potential for marketing, but brands need to play by the rules if they want a slice of the pie, says EN’s Stuart Wood N etflix’s recent documentary, Fyre Festival: The Greatest Party that Never Happened, has put a spotlight on the phenomenon of the ‘influencer’. It’s a concept that has only entered public consciousness within the last few years, as social media increasingly pervades every aspect of our lives. Individuals (or groups) that have a large social media following are now able to leverage their popularity for the sake of brands and corporations. And, yes – exhibitions. In particular, brands that are aimed at teenagers and young adults are beginning to realise the enormous potential that influencers have for marketing. In an age where even children are used to being advertised to on a daily basis, seeing a celebrity we admire endorsing a product in a – seemingly – natural way can be very persuasive. Going down in flames But it’s that ‘seemingly’ that is the problem. While many celebrity product endorsements on Instagram can appear to be spontaneous, the reality is often quite different. That was certainly the case for Fyre Festival, an event which was sold off the back of a clever marketing campaign featuring some of Instagram’s most prestigious influencers, including Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. The influencers were paid to fly out to the island on which Fyre was set to take place, where they took some pouty, bikini-clad selfies and tagged the upcoming festival. As a result, 28 — March Top: Fyre founders BIlly McFarland and Ja Rule Centre: Great Hall, Hampton Court Palace Above: Milan Thakrar of HRP tickets quickly sold out – even those priced as high as $12,000. But Fyre, as anyone who has seen the documentary will know, wasn’t able to deliver on any of its grandiose promises. The organisers sold a fraudulent pipe dream, with almost no ability to deliver the event they had advertised. CEO and Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland has since been sentenced to six years in jail for his efforts. Of course, marketing on Instagram isn’t all so insidious. So long as sponsored posts are clearly marked as such, and audiences know when they are being advertised to, it can be a platform with enormous potential. Historic Royal Palaces, a charitable organisation which runs several historic events venues, has made use of Instagram influencers in the past, and knows the great potential that it holds for spreading the word around an