TanaCon: The Disaster Which Proves the Marketing Power of a YouTube Influencer

TanaCon: the YouTube Fyre Festival

Last weekend, YouTube influencer Tana Mongeau attempted to run an alternative to VidCon just down the road from the convention. Instead, she ended up staging an event comparable to last year’s disastrous Fyre Festival.

Mongeau is a highly popular YouTube influencer. With 3.5 million followers to her name, she is recognisable even to those who know relatively little about her platform. Angry at VidCon’s refusal to grant her a “Featured Creator” badge, Mongeau decided to throw a rival two-day convention. Attendees could rub shoulders with all of their favourite YouTube influencers like Shane Dawson, Bella Thorne, and Casey Neistat. But before being allowed in, fans had to wait up to five hours in the blazing sun. Upon entry, people quickly realised that there were no activities or entertainment planned and the venue was essentially one long corridor filled with people. The Anaheim Marriot Suites hotel had a capacity of around 3,000 people. The event sold more than 5,000 tickets, and around 15,000 turned up on the day. Needless to say, the event was a disaster.

By the second day, the convention was cancelled.

What did TanaCon demonstrate for influencer marketing?

Although TanaCon might have been a disaster, its creators proved the pure marketing power of influencers and their audiences. Thousands of attendees were attracted by the convention’s cheaper price and the chance to get up close and personal with their favourite YouTube influencers in a way the safety-conscious VidCon doesn’t allow. TanaCon demonstrated the absolute pull of influencers, as well as the dedication of their followers. Although fans were prominently unhappy with waiting in the sun all day – they still waited.

Mongeau hasn’t seen a knock to her follower count. If anything, she’s likely to make a profit on her monetised videos responding to the event’s controversy. Although she took to Twitter to assure fans would be fully refunded, even if it was out of her own pocket, the event won’t have permanently damaged her YouTube influencer status. Fans have been quoted all over news feeds affirming that they don’t blame Mongeau for what happened. They are more likely to blame the ticketing company than Tana herself, even if organizing an event on the same weekend as VidCon, in the same city, without a system to cap crowds seems painfully disorganized.

Above all else, TanaCon has demonstrated that the potential for influencer marketing taps into a very powerful social force. Influencers command the spending power of millennials and young consumers in a way unlike any other. On top of this, they also have a clear claim on their follower’s trust. The relationship between influencer and consumer is one which can withstand much more controversy than any traditional advertising campaign could.

instagram and youtube influencer

The influencer alternative with @swayy.me

What does Swayy have to do with a YouTube influencer?

Swayy is a platform built to allow hotels and travel businesses to harness the power of people like Mongeau. The most impressive thing this YouTube influencer has achieved is her following. Not only has she established an engaged, and apparently forgiving, audience, but she has cultivated a trust-based relationship in which followers will invest in her both personally and financially. Swayy gives venues access to a closed loop, end-to-end platform through which the hospitality sector can easily access high quality, pre-vetted influencers. Swayy influencers are both better organized and less hassle to book. You can have all of the advertising power influencers like Mongeau guaranteed without any of the controversies.

Countless news outlets have covered the TanaCon disaster, but almost none of them have taken note of the business lesson the event offers. Influencers are changing the marketing landscape very rapidly. Marketers need to tap into their power if they want to hold any ground with millennials.

instagram and youtube influencer


If you’d like to tap into the power of influencer marketing sign up to Swayy today! Or, read more here about what we offer.


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