The rapper was part of a promotion with the retail giant in which he would visit the Walmart with the most “likes” on its Facebook page, but when a writer for The Boston Phoenix newspaper suggested it would be funny to send Pitbull to the most remote Walmart possible, people rallied to the cause.
The informal campaign — promoted on Twitter under the hash tag #ExilePitbull — took on on a life of its own.
While many who participated were Pitbull fans, others voted to send the rapper away because they don’t like his music, and yet others took part because they thought the plan was funny.
As of Tuesday, Walmart’s Kodiak location had more than 70,000 “likes” on its Facebook page.
Kodiak was the clear winner, although people around the country tried hard to lure Pitbull to a store near them.
“From Miami to St. Louis we saw hundreds of thousands of fans like their local Walmart Facebook page, but Kodiak was the winner,” Walmart spokeswoman Sarah Spencer told ABC News on Tuesday.
The contest closed Monday.
In a video posted to YouTube on Tuesday, Pitbull — whose real name is Armando Perez — addressed the outcome of the contest. “I heard that Kodiak, Alaska, has the most likes due to someone that thinks he was playing a prank … but you’ve got to understand, I will go anywhere in the world for my fans,” he said.
As for what the rapper will do once he’s in Kodiak, those details are still being finalized, but Pitbull will “definitely be meeting the community and our store associates,” Spencer said.
Further details of the upcoming visit — which was expected to happen by the end of July — will be shared within the next couple of days, she added.
Asked how the company felt about the direction the promotion took, Spencer said: “It was an absolute surprise but a great outcome. Our associates, they’re just so happy and the letters and the pictures that we’re getting … and just how fun this campaign has been, it’s just been great.”
On the Kodiak Walmart’s Facebook page, the news was greeted with approval. People had “liked” the page from all over the nation, and from Colombia, Great Britain, Brazil and other countries around the world.
“Congratulations Walmart Kodiak!! I’m at the other end of the world (New Zealand) and am glad I could help a little. Enjoy!!,” one poster wrote.
Another added: “Pitbull is indeed a good sport for maintaining a positive attitude for something that was initially intended as a prank. Hope all you Kodiak inhabitants have fun!!!”
Kodiak Island is about 225 miles southwest of Anchorage. It’s home to the nation’s largest Coast Guard base, and the island is known for its Kodiak brown bear population.
When it became clear that Kodiak’s Walmart was pulling ahead in the votes, the rapper tweeted about bear repellent being available at the store. Spencer said staffers would likely have some for him as a gift.
He’ll be prepared for bears, but he’ll also need to dress for the weather.
According to Accuweather.com, the high on Kodiak Island is not expected to break 60 degrees over the next two weeks, and the forecast calls for rain.