You gawked at it, tweeted about it and now, finally, you can see Pharrell Williams’s hat from this year’s Grammys in person. Monday afternoon, the fast food chain Arby’s announced that it will be loaning the over-sized Vivienne Westwood creation that became social media legend to the Newseum.
Watch its Vine announcement here:
— Arby’s (@Arbys) August 18, 2014
This all comes after a firestorm of tweets during the Grammys ceremony this past January that drew comparisons between Pharrell’s tremendous topper — which earned its own Twitter handle during the show @PharrellsHat — and the Georgia-based chain’s logo. Arby’s took the viral surge as an opportunity to point out the resemblance itself and sent out a tweet that earned over 80,000 retweets.
In the weeks following, the “Get Lucky” singer announced that he’d be putting the hat that made him look not unlike Smokey the Bear on eBay to raise money for From One Hand to Another, his charity that helps children learn through technology and the arts. He also suggested to Arby’s that if they were willing to throw down some serious cash, they actually could get it back.
When Pharrell tweeted his thanks to the buyer who laid down a whopping $44,100, Arby’s announced that it was responsible.
It finally had its hat back.
“The post-Grammy’s Twitter exchange between Arby’s and Pharrell about his hat was completely unexpected and has just become this remarkable moment in pop-culture this year,” said Chris Fuller, vice president of brand and corporate communications at Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc., in an e-mailed statement. “It goes to show the power of social media in its ability to create news.”
To give credit where credit is due, Arby’s started looking for an opportunity to give back to the industry that was responsible for making its tweets and the following story such a success. That led to the idea of a short-term exhibition at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. And the museum was happy to display the hat that launched over 100,000 tweets to show, in part, how social media can affect a story.
“The stories visitors experience in the Newseum illustrate historic and contemporary moments as seen through the eyes of the media,'” said Scott Williams, senior vice president of marketing at the Newseum, in an e-mail. “Pharrell’s hat is a great addition to the Newseum and will serve as a great example of the impact of social media today.”
Pharrell’s hat will be on display at the Newseum from this Friday, Aug. 22 until Oct. 26. No word yet on whether Arby’s will be catering the grand opening but hey, here’s hoping.