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How the Internet turned Alex From Target into a teenage heartthrob
The Alex From Target meme blew up overnight. Who is he, and why is he so popular?
#AlexFromTarget is all the proof you need that teenage fans are the biggest force on the Internet.
Over the weekend, a teenage Target employee named Alex turned into the latest Internet sensation, complete with fanart, memes, and a worldwide trending topic.
On Sunday morning, a young Twitter user, @auscalum, tweeted a picture of a teen working as a Target cashier. Her caption: “YOOOOOOOOOO.”
— rims (@auscalum) November 2, 2014
@auscalum continued her normal day of tweeting, mostly about the band 5SOS, as steam began to pick up on the Alex From Target phenomenon. It wasn’t long before Alex started to trend, and everyone started asking, “What is #AlexFromTarget?”
RV IF YOURE IN THE ALEX FROM TARGET FANDOM 😩😍🙌 https://t.co/n7lGnXgP5m
— Alex From Target Fan (@katyswiftgrimme) November 3, 2014
STEAL HIS LOOK: ALEX FROM TARGET shirt: $29.99 Target pants: $35.99 Target watch: $19.99 Target bags: $0.05 Target pic.twitter.com/FxV2cWUKWy
— Dream Closet (@TheDreamCIoset) November 3, 2014
— king zayn (@smalIdog) November 3, 2014
ok ok stop with alex from target now its long over
— rims (@auscalum) November 3, 2014
The real Alex got wind of his newfound fame Sunday afternoon. We don’t know much about him, except that he does have a girlfriend and they’re from Texas. He’s since had to change his phone number. In a now-deleted tweet, he contemplated making shirts and merchandise. He’s also racked up over 325,000 Twitter followers overnight.
Am i famous now?
— DGM_Alex (@acl163) November 2, 2014
Now i have to change my number…
— DGM_Alex (@acl163) November 3, 2014
All it takes is an attractive picture of a stranger to whip the Internet into a frenzy. Fine Felon, Ridiculously Photogenic Guy, the new Fine Felon, an Olympics volunteer, even a Crimean attorney general—these memes all came from candid photos. Alex From Target may be even more influential: he’s inspired photos of other attractive teenage boys working service-industry jobs to spread across social media.
Kieran from T-Mobile. pic.twitter.com/sbb8e1JM4K
— Tweet Like A Girl (@TweetLikeAGirI) November 3, 2014
Now let’s find frankie from starbucks pic.twitter.com/n1Dh3cArQa
— FAT AMY (@RelatableQuote) November 3, 2014
“alex from target” “kieran from tmobile” “steve from starbucks” “matt from red robin” what a time to be alive😍 pic.twitter.com/3aHAstsNhF
— a l e x & s h a n a (@_ashtonsdimplxs) November 3, 2014
It’s even spread to celebrities. Fans of One Direction, 5SOS, and teen favorites like Tyler Oakley celebrated their favorite boys working service jobs using their own hashtags.
— molly ◡̈ (@nxrrygold) November 3, 2014
— Anisha (@awwzoee) November 3, 2014
Target itself even got in on the act, tweeting Monday morning that they, too, love Alex.
— Target (@Target) November 3, 2014
It actually remains to be seen if Alex From Target can translate his newfound fame into something that sticks. We don’t even know if he has a talent beyond bagging your purchases, but we wouldn’t be shocked if he made a go of it on Vine or YouTube at the very least. He’s already got people parodying him there, too.
— julie (@julyssa_tinoco) November 3, 2014
Update 6:00pm CT, Nov. 4: Late this evening, Alex From Target was debunked as a viral marketing stunt.
Update 9:45pm CT, Nov. 4: #AlexFromTarget began with two Texas girls, predating Breakr’s alleged marketing campaign.
A former YouTube reporter for the Daily Dot, Rae Votta has more than a decade of experience in the digital and entertainment industries. Her work has appeared on AOL, Huffington Post, Out Magazine, Logo, VH1, Current TV, Billboard, and NYMag. She joined Netflix in 2016.