On Building #AlexFromTarget

It is arguable that of all the things the Internet does well, the thing it does best is transform everyday people into celebrities overnight. Sites like YouTube and Twitter have helped earn the Internet this reputation, themselves being platforms where people can move from the audience to the stage. One teenage Texan is becoming quickly aware of the Internet’s potential here following a weekend of massive Likes, Tweets and Retweets.

In the course of a weekend, a picture of a bag boy from a Target store in Frisco, Texas was sent out on Twitter, much to the delight of many teenage girls. By the next day, the bag boy (named Alex) was no longer known simply as “Alex,” but as #AlexFromTarget. Just as media outlets all over the world began asking “Who IS Alex From Target?” one marketing startup claimed responsibility and said the whole thing was an elaborate ploy to show off their wares.

According to a report from CNET, the company claiming responsibility for Alex From Twitter’s popularity is called Breakr, a media outfit which is still in beta. Currently Breakr’s online presence is equal parts website and music video, but they do describe their vision this way: “At the intersection of communication and content, Breakr evolves the way you consume content with like-minded individuals.”

Dil-Domine Jacobe Leonares, Breakr’s CEO, explained the phenomenon on LinkedIn, calling it “one of the most amazing social media experiments ever.” As a company, Breakr says they work to connect “fans to their fandom.” Reading Leonares’ LinkedIn post, it appears they do this by utilizing social media, gently leading both sides of the conversation about their clients, both the cynical and the fanatic. While Alex From Twitter clearly isn’t hocking anything, (he said later on an appearance on the Ellen Show that he’s only good at bagging groceries) Breakr has already signed clients, such as artists and bands.

Mere days after Breakr said the entire thing was their doing, both Alex From Twitter and the first “fangirl” to start the Twitter storm said they were not a part of Breakr’s big scheme. Alex From Twitter claimed neither he nor anyone in his family had ever heard of Breakr, an interesting statement considering Leonares originally claimed they had gotten permission from Alex to use the photo.

Regardless, there’s something to learn about marketing and representing a brand online here. Many brands have understood the importance of having a social media presence, but only in so much as damage control or a way to send out scattershot advertisements. These platforms are best used for interaction with a fan base, and according to Leonares, his team was successfully able to interact with “fangirls” who were merely talking about a cute boy. Despite the topic, if your branding and marketing teams look hard enough, there’s something to add to the conversation, and some way for them to interact with your fans.

Once the relationship is established and the conversation is happening, the trick is to turn that convert the conversation into revenue for your company. As #AlexFromTwitter and Breakr have shown us, the world of online marketing is always evolving. To limit your learning curve and maximize your online marketing potential, partner with IntelliBright, who understands how to adapt to and navigate the frequently changing landscape.