By Spencer Feingold
Nearly two years after the disastrous Fyre Festival, the event’s social media strategist, Oren Aks, says he has taken some lessons from the debacle ー but he has no regrets.
“I don't regret it because I love what I know now ー and it has just created a whole plethora of options for my own freelance work,” Aks said.
Aks was a social media strategist at the entertainment agency Jerry Media, where he played a key role in whipping up a social media frenzy around the music festival-turned-fiasco. The strategy used A-list models like Kylie Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski to lure millennials into spending thousands of dollars on tickets.
The festival, of course, turned out to be an infamous disaster and an elaborate sham. Festival-goers arrived at the venue in the Bahamas to find dreary cheese sandwiches and plastic tents ー a far cry from the gourmet meals and five-star accommodations they were expecting.
Now, running his own agency ー called Atomic Milk ー Aks insists he's putting honesty first.
"The crux of Atomic Milk is respecting clients, respecting audience, and respecting employees," he said. "It's just about ethics and making sure that I lead by example."
He even has some tips for people to avoid scams like Fyre Fest ー specifically, to slow down before buying into something that appears too good to be true.
“We are in an age of things going so fast, you don't have time to even Google one link,” Aks said on Cheddar Thursday.
But Aks stopped short of saying that Jerry Media shared culpability for the scam.
"I think everybody right now is looking for where to put blame," he said. And Aks places the responsibility squarely on the head of Fyre Media, organizer William McFarland.
Fyre Festival resulted in several federal lawsuits against its organizers. In October 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison on multiple fraud charges.
“McFarland found out the hard way that empty promises don’t lead to jet-setting, champagne, and extravagant parties – they lead to federal prison,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
For full interview click here.