November 24, 2014 By integrate

The Viral “Bieber”

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Ladies and gentlemen, Twitter has done it yet again.  A new internet sensation has gone viral and currently has the world (including every teenage girl in America) talking about the newly bona fide celebrity, #AlexfromTarget. Formally known as Alex Lee, a Target employee from our beloved state of Texas, unexpectedly made his online debut earlier this month after a tweet from what can be considered his first “official” fan, was shared via the Twittersphere.  It didn’t take long before the photo of the dreamy teen went viral, inspiring a devoted fan base and features on news websites including CNN and The Washington Post. Pop culture has yet again made it clear that rising to celebrity stardom doesn’t take much these days, and as public relations professionals, we can’t help but to view this situation as a marketing opportunity for Target. So without further adieu, let’s take a moment to acknowledge how this act of spontaneity clearly created a lot of buzz for Target’s brand.

1.Brand Exposure via WOM. From a marketing standpoint, it is obvious that this strategic social media incident created positive brand exposure for the Target brand. In just a matter of days, the hashtag #AlexfromTarget was a trending topic, making the Target name famous by association, and left many Americans wondering who this Alex character was. And as the lively “Alex from Target”memes and spin-offs quickly transpired on Buzzfeed, it is safe to say that #AlexfromTarget has become the newest face of Target in the eyes of every teenage girl in America.  

2.Product Placement. Truth be told, you’re not official until you’ve been on the Ellen DeGeneres show and you know you’re a big deal when Ellen herself sends you a tweet requesting your presence on her show. Not only did this “Viral Bieber-look alike”work Target’s trademark “red shirt and khakis”look on national TV, but he also did a small segment with the celebrity host herself at Target! If that is not solid proof of successful integrated product placement, then wet know what is.

3.Taking Advantage of the Opportunity. While Target did not claim any responsibility for this viral incident, they certainly took advantage of the opportunity by showing their appreciation for their now-famous employee via Target’s Twitter account. The 30K retweets accumulated from their “We heart Alex, too!”proves how this social media outbreak has only helped promote the Target brand in a positive manner, which more than likely has competitors pretty peod.

Nowadays, anything can become viral and lucky for Target, this strategic move (which literally took no effort from the brand itself), has exposed the Target brand in unexpected ways and has us all wondering, what next.


Written By Stefanie Pascacio