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Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

Pharrell Wears Smokey Bear's Hat to the Grammys

Silver Honor in Real-Time Response


Who knew one of the biggest real-time moments of 2014 was going to be Pharrell wearing a Smokey Bear hat to the GRAMMYs?! It's not typical for HelpGood to monitor entertainment awards shows for wildfire prevention messaging opportunities for Smokey, but we recognized this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, especially in Smokey's 70th Birthday year (he's the longest running PSA campaign in US history). Having built the trust of Smokey's backers (Ad Council, Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters) HelpGood jumped into the conversation to bend the zeitgeist moment into one of the biggest wildfire prevention messaging moments ever. We tweeted and facebooked text and cheeky photo memes that our art directors created real-time with the show using the #GRAMMYs hashtag. Meanwhile we reached out to press contacts to make sure they watched. Even celebs like Neil Patrick Harris made the direct connection between Pharrell and Smokey. The results were striking: Within 24 hours, Smokey's Twitter followers grew 25%, with over 36,000 Smokey-related tweets yielding more than 58.5 million impressions. Organic traffic to increased 123%. Over 180 quality media outlets talked about Smokey and the story continued to pop up throughout 2014. Smokey wound up in many year-end wrap up stories, including John St.'s Reactvertising viral video. The Smokey hat GRAMMYs moment is a true real-time, earned media success story.

Strategy and Execution

This is the first time a government related social media account has had a real-time social media success of this order of magnitude. As a third-party agency on the account HelpGood has worked to build trust with the sponsors to enable an opportunity like this. We also have prepped our internal team that we need to be at the ready to exploit these real-time social moments on behalf of our social good clients, so it is a true collaborative effort.

This discrete real time moment has continued to reap dividends for Smokey and wildfire awareness, even beyond the initial 50 million plus impressions. The real-time moment kept coming back throughout the year - the Oscars, other Pharrell appearances, continuing late night talk show gags, etc. Even now, a year later, both Pharrell and Arby's engaged with Smokey around the hat

All of this has contributed to the Smokey social media campaign giving voice to wildfire prevention in an impactful way.


Video for Pharrell Wears Smokey Bear's Hat to the Grammys

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Smokey Bear, HelpGood, Animax, Ad Council, USDA Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters


Entry Credits