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Alex From Target: The Newest Internet Marketing Sensation?

A new meme appeared on the Internet within the last two weeks and went viral in a way that rivals some of the most popular viral sensations to date. A photo of a young Target employee named Alex LeBeouf was taken by a shopper while Alex was bagging her purchases, and that photo was uploaded to the internet. The photo was then shared via Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #alexfromtarget. Teenage girls across the globe who found Alex to be attractive shared the photo, commenting on it and sending it to friends. Alex from Target became a meme, a viral phenomenon as pervasive as any seen on the internet thus far, and it was mostly due to teenage fangirls.

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Photo credit: Brooklyn Reiff and Business Insider

Or was it? After the picture had become famous, a new player stepped onto the virtual court. Dil-Domine Jacobe Leonares, the owner of an Internet marketing company called Breakr, claimed to have orchestrated the entire #alexfromtarget phenomenon. Leonares claimed that LeBeouf had given permission to use the now famous photo, and that Breakr had some role in it being tweeted by popular Twitter user @Auscalum. After both Alex and @Auscalum publicly denied any knowledge of Breakr or communication with Leonares, his story changed slightly.

Leonares’ story is now considered by most to be a hoax, an attempt to use Alex’s newfound fame for his own benefit. Credit for the original photo has finally been awarded to 15 year old Brooklyn Reiff, who took the picture and sent it to a friend who thought Alex was cute. She has now also become well-known on the Internet. We don’t know for certain how #alexfromtarget spread so quickly, but the fact remains that a young man was shot from the relative anonymity of a typical American teenager to the heights of internet popularity. His Twitter page, @acl163, had 140 followers before November 2 and now has over 732,000.

It’s not hard to see why Leonares, or any internet marketer for that matter, would want to claim the viral sensation. The Internet is an often incomprehensible, wide reaching platform, and creating a viral sensation is a trick that almost no one has mastered. For every #alexfromtarget and ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, there is a viral campaign idea that didn’t pan out. Internet marketing is a tricky game to master, and while Internet marketers can’t promise that you’ll go viral, choosing the right professionals can boost your online traffic. Contact SteerPoint Marketing to find out more.