2014: Arby's dominates Grammy's conversation with Pharrell Williams' 'Hat' tweet

To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.


Today's marketing moment was chosen by Maurice Bernstein, co-founder and CEO of experience brand agency Giant Step. Below, why out why Arby's tweet about Pharrell Williams' hat during the 2014 Grammy's is one of his favorite marketing moments.

There are few things more powerful than when a brand is able to own a cultural moment and change the conversation.

For that reason, Arby’s tweet about Pharrell Williams’ hat at the 2014 Grammy’s is a personal favorite. It wasn’t manufactured or pre-planned, but Arby’s very savvy social team understood the cultural relevance of this moment and was able to authentically and cleverly tie what was happening back to the brand, insert themselves into the conversation and get everyone talking and tweeting about it.

They didn’t pay Pharrell to wear that hat, or for advertising around the Grammy’s, but they recognized the importance of reacting quickly and seizing opportunities at the start of a buzzed-about event to put the brand in the spotlight. Suddenly, the social community was more focused on Arby’s than the performances and awards that night, and it didn’t cost them a dime. It was an innovative, effective and clever way of putting the brand front and center, right at the pace of culture.

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