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?

 

Rae Votta

Internet Culture

Published Nov 3, 2014   Updated May 30, 2021, 7:02 am CDT

#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.”

YOOOOOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/eknsxBlx38

— 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

been an #alexfromtarget fan since the womb pic.twitter.com/6ki1kPYuvL

— 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.

who needs #alexfromtarget when you can have harry from the bakery? #EMABiggestFans1D pic.twitter.com/SqynIPQx8d

— molly ◡̈ (@nxrrygold) November 3, 2014

This is Tyler This is Tyler from McDonald’s #TylerFromMcdonalds pic.twitter.com/4itbQfSwNJ

— Anisha (@awwzoee) November 3, 2014

Target itself even got in on the act, tweeting Monday morning that they, too, love Alex.

We heart Alex, too! #alexfromtarget pic.twitter.com/LvA7qc5RfS

— 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.

Alex from Target’s roommate (w/ David Dobrik) @annie_girl_ omg 😅 https://t.co/6H2HYgSRpg

— 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.

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*First Published: Nov 3, 2014, 4:00 pm CST