Photo Alice Nerr/Stocksy |


Playing with Fyre

The Fyre Festival was one of the biggest cultural trainwrecks of 2017. But it holds important lessons about the power of social media and the allure of influencers. In our first podcast, we interview filmmaker Nicco Quiñones and culture analyst Linda Ong for insight on what it means for marketers.

Run Time: 28 minutes

The Fyre Festival made headlines in April of 2017 for all the wrong reasons. It was planned as a two-week music festival on a remote island in the Bahamas, but it was cancelled shortly after concert-goers began arriving. Social media buzzed with sensational accounts of Millennials trapped on an island with nothing to eat but cold cheese sandwiches.

For marketers, the event highlights the awesome power of social media and the growing influence of social media influencers. We wrote about The Fyre Festival last year in a piece that touched on lessons learned from the event. But the story was too delicious, so we made it the focus of our first episode of The Findings Report Podcast.

In “Playing with Fyre” we unpack the relevant issues and themes that drove people to the event on the backs of a well-orchestrated social media marketing campaign. Documentary filmmaker Nicco Quiñones joins us to discuss his upcoming film Under the Influence, which looks beneath the surface of the debacle to reveal the hidden power of social media to drive consumer behavior.

We also interview Linda Ong, the Chief Culture Officer of Civic Entertainment for her insights on the power of social media influencers. These influencers are providing new opportunities for marketers, but they also hold valuable lessons for engaging with fans and driving business.


Linda Ong

Linda Ong is the Chief Culture Officer of Civic Entertainment Group, a Seacrest Global Group company, one of the nation’s most award-winning marketing services companies with special practice areas in Big Event and Experiential Marketing, Strategic Marketing Partnerships, Public Relations, Influencer Campaigns, Pro Social Initiatives and Cultural Brand Strategies.

Formerly the CEO and Founder of TruthCo., an omnicultural branding and insights firm, Ong has been at the center of some of the most high-profile brand transformations in the media and entertainment industry over the past 20 years and was named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business for 2014.

Her groundbreaking work on cultural insights related to women, Hispanics, Millennials and other drivers of the changing cultural landscape has positioned Ong as a sought-after cultural advisor and industry voice. She has been featured in several books including Joel Beckerman’s The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy; Scott Stowell’s Design for People; and Chiqui Cartagena’s Latino Boom II.

Recently named to the advisory board of Women in Entertainment, Ong served as “Innovation Ambassador” to the 2014 United Nations World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a delegate to the 2016 United Nations Media for Social Impact Summit. She is a founding member of the Creative Alliance for Civic Nation, a non-profit, non-partisan organization started by the former President and First Lady, Barack and Michelle Obama, to address some of the nation’s most pressing challenges.

Prior to founding her own shop, Ong was senior vice president of marketing for Oxygen Media, where she oversaw the multi-platform launch of the Oxygen Network. Before that, she was managing director of strategy and creative director for Lee Hunt Associates, a segment producer for Videofashion! Inc., and an art director for McCann-Erickson USA. She is a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin.

Nicco Quiñones

Born in Miami, Nicco Quiñones spent his childhood in Park City, Utah, where he began working for the local TV station at the age of 11. When he returned to Miami for high school, he’d already discovered his life’s passion- directing films.

After making a series of short documentaries throughout middle and high school, Nicco interned for Spike Lee in Brooklyn and was later accepted to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

His NYU thesis was the screenplay for his biggest project yet. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Directing Film & Television in 2013 and directed HOMEWARD that same year.

Check out more of his work at Quiñones Productions. You may also enjoy this story about Under the Influence which led our team to Nicco, in the first place.

Show Credits

Media Coverage

  • Fyre Festival news clips courtesy of ABC News
  • Fyre Festival Vlog clip courtesy of Austin Mills
  • Fyre Festival Vlog clip courtesy of SophizzleMahNizzle
  • Clip from Ron Funches segment on Conan courtesy of TBS


The Findings Report theme song was composed by Daniel Munkus

Other music heard in this episode:


  • Transcription: Lydia Ward
  • Production Support: Amanda White


comments powered by Disqus