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Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Arby’s – National Hat Day

Entered in Real Time Response


Arby's is constantly looking for opportunities to spark conversation and engagement across all of their social channels in relevant, impactful and, when possible, unexpected ways. A little-known but highly appropriate holiday, National Hat Day (January 15th), gave the brand the perfect opportunity to celebrate a well-known brand icon – the iconic Arby’s hat, while also engaging some of their biggest competitors on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Strategy and Execution

While many QSRs rep their brand with a character or mascot, when people think of Arby’s, they think of The Meats. And rightfully so. But they also think of that recognizable and iconic ten-gallon hat featured in the logo. The Arby’s Hat also happens to be an article of clothing that most of the other competitors’ mascots are sadly lacking. Brand-to-brand banter on social media tends to draw strong engagement, especially when there’s a bit of poking fun involved. Since Arby’s voice on social is known more for clever wit than meanness, we leveraged National Hat Day to have some fun with a more low-key flavor of trolling – by simply placing the Arby’s hat on the mascots of our QSR competitors.
The competitors included The King (Burger King), The Colonel (Kentucky Fried Chicken), Wendy (Wendy’s) and Ronald (McDonald’s). To keep it subtle, we showed the mascots from the eyebrows up––that was all we needed to get the message across. The post copy simply read “Let’s be honest, our hat makes everyone look good.” This playful jab at the competition was a top-performing post for the quarter and drove conversation that garnered love and respect for Arby’s, even from the brands we poked fun at, including an Instagram response from Wendy’s – “Yeah, but I definitely rock it the best for sure.” Sears and Kmart got in on the fun as well, Sears saying “Did you get these hats at Sears?” with Kmart responding to say “Nah, Kmart”.


National Hat Day made headlines and drove conversation on Twitter, where it performed 1.3X over benchmark. It resonated most on Twitter, where it aligned to the competitive nature of the platform. Organically on Instagram, it was the 2nd top-performing post for Q1 and 1.7X over Arby’s social benchmarks. 

In addition to above-benchmark results and high engagement, there was pick-up from the trades on AdWeek


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Moxie, Arby's


Entry Credits