Arby’s Got Its Hat Back

            They say Helen of Troy had the face that launched a thousand ships. I think it is safe to say that we now have the modern equivalent: the hat that launched a thousand tweets. If you have not seen it already, the picture shown above is of Pharrell at the Grammys, sporting his now infamous hat. I remember my Twitter feed blowing up with comments on Pharrell’s hat during the Grammy’s. Amidst all of these tweets and jokes about park rangers and hiding things underneath it, Arby’s tweet stood out.


(“Twitter,” 2014)

            As you can see, the Arby’s joke was retweeted over 80,000 times and favorite almost 50,000 times. This clearly got Arby’s a lot of exposure for free during on of the biggest media events of the year, the Grammys. One might expect Arby’s to stop there, and appreciate the free publicity that drawing a connection to Pharrell’s hat gave them. However, Arby’s joined in the auction for his hat on ebay and bought it for a pricey $44,100. The proceeds all went to Pharrell’s charity, From One Hand to Another, which benefits children in need. After his hat sold, Pharrell tweeted a thank you, to which Arby’s twitter responded that they were glad to support the charity and to “get their hat back.” Apparently these moves were more than successful for the fast food chain. The stunt gained them 40,000 interactions on social media along with an estimated 160 million impressions. In addition, they gained about 6,000 new followers on Twitter.

Arby’s original tweet was by no means a big group effort. According to AdWeek, it was just one guy in a room. That guy was Josh Martin, Arby’s representative. Martin says that the tweet only took him a few seconds to make, aside from checking that he spelled Pharrell’s twitter handle correctly. He says that he was also the first to suggest that the fast food chain buy the hat to commemorate the social media moment.

Arby’s has been in contact with Pharrell’s people in terms of delivering the hat, however, they have not been clear as to what exactly they will do with it. Perhaps they’ll display it at their headquarters or have the CEO pose wearing it? It also remains to be seen whether Arby’s will have an increase in sales, or if their success will only be social media based. All in all, the hat seems to have a win for everyone: Arby’s, Pharrel, and those that From One Hand to Another is seeking to help.


Heine, C. (2014, March 3). Arb’ys buys pharrell williams’ hat for $44,100
. Retrieved

from williams-hat-44100-156070

Heine, C. (2014, March 7). Arb’ys dishes on awesome pharrell williams tweet. Retrieved


E Online. (Photographer). [Print Photo]. Retrieved from

Twitter. (2014, January 26). Retrieved from

2 thoughts on “Arby’s Got Its Hat Back

  1. It’s pretty crazy how much social media impacts celebrities and businesses. Just like you said, it only took one person a couple of seconds to tweet to Twitter and bam it goes viral. Anything can go viral, good or bad and fortunately this was a good one that benefited everyone.


  2. This was SUCH a good PR move on behalf of Arby’s. It’s extremely hard to remain relevant on social media especially when your company isn’t known for doing so (see Taco Bell). By using humor and current cultural memes like Pharrell’s hat, companies can make their social media presence more known and gain a bigger following.


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