Turns out Alex from Target, the unassuming, handsome young cashier who set teen Twitter users' hearts aflutter this week, may have just been a marketing ploy after all.
A marketing company called Breakr claims it orchestrated the viral campaign centered around an "unknown good-looking kid and Target employee from Texas," which purportedly began when teenage girls began maniacally retweeting a photo of him that had been posted on Twitter.
The cute Target guy was quickly identified as Alex Chrisopher Laboeuf and his Twitter immedaitely exploded—by Tuesday his account had more than half a million followers.
Breakr CEO Dil-Domine Jacobe Leonares wrote in a lengthy brag on LinkedIn that his company was only looking to practice manipulating teenagers, and never thought the Alex from Target meme would catch on the way it did.
Leonares says the tweet originated with a British Twitter user named Abbie, who has since denied involvement, claiming she found the photo on Tumblr.
But it's hard to tell if anyone is even real anymore. Leonares claims he orchestrated the entire thing, even going so far as to craft YouTube parodies to "keep fueling the social media flame with out kids." He says he can be seen on a Google hangout in the background of the parody, which has already garnered 56,000 views.
Update 11:30 p.m.
Alex from Target has also denied involvement, tweeting that the company is just jumping on to his viral fame.
And as Hudson Hongo points out, Twitter users have also been poking holes in the Breakr claim since Leonares first took credit for the meme.