I tricked People into naming Charles Manson’s fiancée the sexiest woman alive

I trolled People Magazine's Twitter marketing campaign and it worked.


Beejoli Shah

Internet Culture

Published Nov 22, 2014   Updated May 30, 2021, 3:52 am CDT

As the New England Patriots quickly learned last week, letting followers have control over a brand’s social media presence is rarely a good idea. Which is why when People announced that in honor of its most recent Sexiest Man Alive  issue, fans could tweet their best selfies and get a personalized cover in return, I knew only total and complete anarchy would do.

Featured Video Hide

It all started when @PeopleMag tweeted that, in a cross-promotion with Fox’s new Taraji P. Henson drama Empire, if you tweeted a selfie at its account alongside the hashtag #SMA2014, your own Sexiest Man Alive cover would be tweeted back.

Advertisement Hide

While the results weren’t quite as stylistically polished as Chris Hemsworth’s People cover for this year’s Sexiest Man Alive issue, a few did inspire a laugh here or there (looking at you, Sexiest Grandpa Alive), which is just about the time I started wondering—just how closely is the People’s social media team monitoring those selfie submissions? Given that the turnaround time tended to be about 20 minutes or more it stood to reason that handlers weren’t going to fall victim to the whims of algorithms, like the Patriots did. But it was worth a shot.

First, the Daily Dot’s Ned Donovan aimed to help North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un secure an even bigger coup than world domination.


Advertisement Hide

Who came out on top? Ladies and gentleman, without further ado, People’s Sexiest Woman Alive is the future Mrs. Manson: Afton Burton.

Screengrab via Beejoli Shah

Thanks, People. I love my new cover too.

Advertisement Hide

Photo via poppet with a camera/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Share this article
*First Published: Nov 22, 2014, 11:00 am CST