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Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Arby’s – National Hat Day

Entered in Organic Promotion


Arby’s has developed a cult following on its social channels by creating highly relevant content for niche audiences, and we know that this fervent fan base is hungry for relevant and engaging social content. Our evergreen objective is to continue building brand love by being one of the most talked-about and engaged-with QSRs on social––and building that love means appealing to a younger and more digitally-savvy audience by creating content that feels genuine and unexpected. To foster this affinity among our fans and followers in addition to sparking engagement, we had a unique opportunity to make Arby’s stand out from its competitors on National Hat Day. On January 15th, we celebrated The Arby’s Hat, a well-known brand icon for the brand, while also engaging some of our biggest competitors on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and giving us a chance to interact with our fans.

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––and 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 organic post for the quarter and drove conversation that garnered love and respect for Arby’s, even from some of the brands we poked fun at. It also had the added benefit of gaining the attention of AdWeek.


National Hat Day made headlines and drove conversation on Twitter, where it performed 1.3X over benchmark. 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