Update: Abbie (@auscalum) and Alex Lee (@acl163) were never employed by Breakr. Aside from Abbie being a follower and tweeting the photo, we jumped on it with the hashtag #AlexFromTarget
Yesterday, we had fun on Twitter with the hashtag #AlexFromTarget, which ended up to be one of the most amazing social media experiments ever. We wanted to see how powerful the fangirl demographic was by taking a unknown, good-looking kid, and Target employee from Texas to overnight viral internet sensation. Abbie (@auscalum), one of our fangirls from Kensington, UK posted this picture of Alex Lee (@acl163) on Twitter. After spreading the word amongst our fangirl followers to trend #AlexFromTarget, we started adding fuel to the fire by tweeting about it to our bigger YouTube influencers.
We saw two sides of the conversation happening, with people joining in to support the hashtag just to trend it—and the other side of people getting upset that a guy with good looks could become “internet famous” with no work. In reality, when you look at the whole situation from a macro view you can see that if we can build an individuals fanbase on Breakr, we can translate that powerful following into a bigger career. Just like Jack & Jack from Vine, who had millions of followers going into the studio and no record label support for six weeks then reached the top of the iTunes charts.
Stephen launched a parody YouTube video to keep fueling the social media flame with our kids (as you can see in the video below, we were all in a Google Hangout the whole time). By controlling both sides of the conversation, we got more and more people to talk about the situation which kept the hashtag trending #1 on Twitter worldwide. Alex’s Twitter account started with 2k+ followers around 2pm and is now at 340k+ followers.
Pop-culture publications like Buzzfeed picked up on the trend, writing articles about the whole situation. As of this morning, every major media company has pushed coverage on it.
During the same time, we were announcing our new Breakr member, Corbyn Besson, which helped drive interest to his twitter account too.
After the dust settles, there is a lesson to be learned here for brands, talent agencies, music labels and influencer marketing companies: if you can earn the love and respect from a global community such as the ‘fangirl’ demographic – you can rally them together to drive awareness for any cause, even if its to take a random kid from unknown to stardom over night.
Editor’s note: BusinessInsider published a story claiming that #AlexFromTarget did not go viral through a marketing stunt.