The hastag #alexfromtarget started on November, 2 2014 when a teenage girl with the twitter handle @auscalum snapped a photo of Lee as he was bagging her purchase from the department store giant, Target. Lee had turned his phone off for what he expected to be an average shift at work, but was overcome with confusion when he noticed the size of his line gradually increasing to unusual levels. He was moved to the stockroom for the remainder of his shift where his manager informed him of the photo that @auscalum had sneakily snapped and how it had gone viral in a matter of minutes.
When Lee turned his phone on after work, he was surprised by thousands of texts and notifications. He noticed that instead of the 144 followers that his twitter page had at the beginning of his shift, he had more than 100,000. Lee then tweeted, “Am I famous now?” His tweet has already accumulated forty two thousand retweets and eighty seven thousand favorites.
The rest of the world was just as shocked by #alexfromtarget’s instant fame as he claimed to be, but some refuse to believe that Lee’s explosion of popularity was any less than a well-executed marketing strategy. The marketing company “Breakr” has tried to take responsibility for the explosion of #alexfromtarget, but the individual that tweeted the original photo and Lee himself have both released statements claiming that they had never before heard of the company.
Is there really any way to determine if #alexfromtaget was just your average “cashier cutie” that got a weird amount of attention for being adorable or if he’s part of a marketing ploy? Not really. The thing about the Internet is that it can sometimes make things difficult to trace. If Breakr is infact behind the #alexfromtarget expolsion, they’ve proved to be very successful. Both Breakr and Target are most certainly getting increased amount of attention as a result of #alexfromtarget (some individuals have even been tweeting about their intentions of flying to Texas to visit Lee at the Target in Dallas, no joke.)
Even if #alexfromtarget was a completely organic coincidence the two companies are still receiving increased attention, Lee is now “famous,” and as of this moment there isn’t enough evidence to draw many other conclusions. All I know is that since the hashtag began I’ve personally followed Alex on twitter and made a few purchases from target. Just remember, if you’re planning on flying to Dallas, Alex will probably be hiding in the stockroom for quite a while.