When Bae Meets Alex From Target and Secrets Fly on SelfieYo

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In case you haven’t heard, Alex from Target is the new king of social media. At least for now. We’re not sure if bae knows yet, but Alex has landed in Los Angeles to ramp up his selfie game across all the major networks. He says he had to change his number. What a trip.

It’s been rumored that Mama June wants to do a special with Alex from Target, potentially even try to sign him as a client in her new talent management venture. But it looks like Ellen beat everyone to the punch as Alex is doing an exclusive with the Queen of Selfies herself.

Watching the #alexfromtarget meme unfold over the past 24 hours has been nothing short of an incredible experience. More entertaining and far more powerful than the Wallenda Walk on Discovery a few nights ago. If Alex from Target is the king-du-jour, then Generation Z fangirls are the true kingmakers. Something interesting is happening on the Internet, and in life, as Millennials are getting a little bit older, reaching prime spending age where brands are so focused on marketing via social and traditional media that some of these big social memes slip through until it’s too late to figure it out all… Onto the next GenZ global stunt, unified and scaled by hundreds of millions of participants, some unwitting.

If this is making any sense to you, then you probably understand the psychological pervasiveness of the selfie and the melfie, two epic underpinnings of the modern mobile meme. If you have no clue what we’re talking about, you should probably go back to snacking on nuts or have another coffee or plan your next print ad.

In all seriousness, though, this #alexfromtarget stuff is pretty darn interesting. A lot of people are upset calling it a “hoax” and suggest that it somehow has no place on the Internet. I don’t fully understand the logic behind calling Alex, Target or the massive media storm a hoax, but I do know the engagement, ephemeral or not, is very much real. In fairness to whomever was behind this, if it was a methodical meme, it was one helluva experiment around creating an initial buzz and/or semi-grass roots movement to propel something to a level at which organic thunder could take over. It’s hard making that happen, and for anyone interested in the dynamics of today’s social influencers and the intersection with marketing, #alexfromtarget is an extremely interesting study.

My personal take is that there were probably a small group of people behind it that have a good grasp on Generation Z, social dynamics, and timing around the intercontinental relationship between time zones in the U.S. and the UK (seriously, this played an interesting component in building momentum in time for the U.S. to “wake-up” to #alexfromtarget already being “big” enough to retweet). It’s hard to say wether or not they’ll be able to replicate the same exact thing, but it’s another proof-point that traditional media is not the most effective way to reach people or even scale as desired anymore.

The world is nuanced far more than ever when it comes to spreading messages and spending advertising budgets; with a billion people glued to mobile and usually in mobile apps, the next wave of brand success will be born to those that understand how to align with a mobile app economy that treasures influence, memes, acronyms and can DTR with said influencers in real ways.