On Sunday, a boy named Alex is working at a Target store in Texas. A girl takes a photo of him and posts it on Twitter. He's cute -- at least this unorganized, yet powerful faction Gawker refers to as "Teen Twitter" thinks he's cute -- so the photo gets shared. A lot. And now #AlexFromTarget is a thing.
Suddenly, Alex is famous -- his Twitter account gains hundreds of thousands of followers. He appears on "Ellen." And, of course, Target embraces this sudden free advertising. Other companies pick up on it by using the hashtag. And why not? But is this just a random example of social media at its most pervasive or is this a calculated marketing campaign?
An internet marketing company called Breakr tried to claim the latter. In fact, the company's CEO wrote a post on LinkedIn in which he seemed to give his company credit for the quickly rising popularity of #AlexFromTarget. But there seem to be some holes in that story.
What's clear is the internet moves fast and what's hot in pop culture changes constantly. Smart marketing companies and alert businesses need to be paying attention. (Remember this from the 2013 Super Bowl?) Whether the trend is organically viral or a planned campaign, there's no doubt it can be powerful. But it can also be fleeting. It seems after just a few days, #AlexFromTarget has already worn outhis welcome with plenty of people.
[I originally wrote this article about #AlexFromTarget for wtnh.com] Today's Title: Live forever? No. 15 seconds maybe