Pharrell Dishes on What Makes ‘Happy’ So Easy to Share

Pharrell Williams reflects on the viral success of "Happy" in an op-ed for The New York Times. He's turning into a UN fundraiser.

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If you need a little warm and fuzzy today, Pharrell Williams has you covered. He’s written an op-ed for The New York Times this week about the “Happy” phenomenon: How one feel-good pop song turned into a worldwide, viral video sensation.

Based on the organic success of 24hoursofhappy, Williams has built to do some tangible good (apart from just making you bop your head around). He writes:

We received responses from more than 140 countries and the result was a 24-hour celebration and a wave of happiness worldwide. People came together in cities to sing, dance and celebrate happiness. A flash mob gathered in Croatia; “Happy” played on Jumbotrons in Tokyo, Japan; and there was a #HappyDay video contest in Indonesia. I plan to take this turning point into the next year. In 2015, I will use the song to bring attention to the United Nations Global Education First initiative, which aims to put every child in school and foster global citizenship.

“Viral” and “phenomenon” are words that get thrown around pretty easily in our digitally-minded, marketing-centric community. But Pharrell’s tune took it to a whole new level — a group of Iranians were arrested and forced to publicly apologize for making their own “Happy” video.

It gets to the heart of what makes things worth sharing. The song is catchy and it’s sentimental in just the right way. Who doesn’t like the idea of happiness? Like those inspirational quotes your mom probably posts on Instagram and Pinterest, you could spend a lifetime trying to figure out what makes people tick. A good beat and a positive message isn’t a bad place to start.