UPDATE: Nov. 4 -- Like many teenage heartthrobs, Alex from Target may be too good to be true. He is from Target, but it appears his image didn't became a viral sensation by chance.
The CEO of a marketing company called Breakr is claiming to have engineered the whole Alex from Target phenomenon as "a way to see how powerful the fangirl demographic was," according to a post on LinkedIn.
Dil-Domine Jacobe Leonares, Breakr's CEO, wrote on LinkedIn that one of the company's "fangirls" who lives in the United Kingdom posted Alex's photo on Twitter and the company -- which claims to help connect "fans to their fandom" -- encouraged the other fangirls to share Alex's photo using the #AlexFromTarget hashtag. The company doesn't specify whether the fangirls are paid or just devoted followers.
"Truly, we never thought it'd go this far, but it proved that with a strong fan base and rally the fangirls, you can," Leonares told Cnet.
Target, which initially embraced Alex's new-found fame on Monday, says it wasn't in on the gag. The company released a statement Tuesday night, emphasizing that the company has no affiliation with Breakr and that the retailer "had absolutely nothing to do with the creation, listing or distribution of the photo."
"We value Alex as a team member and from the first moment we saw this photo beginning to circulate, we shared that the Target team was as surprised as anyone," the statement reads.
Though Leonares told CNet that Alex did give permission to have his photo taken by a local fangirl, it's unclear if Alex knew where the photo would end up.
Breakr didn't immediately return requests for comment from The Huffington Post.
From Huff Po: For most teenage stars, the rise to fame comes from combination of stage parenting and a talent for singing, acting or just looking cute.
But thanks to the Internet, one teenager just became famous for bagging groceries.
Meet “Alex from Target.” Those three words encompass basically all we know about him: His name is Alex (at least according to his Target name tag), he works at Target, and he has the boyish good looks of a young Nick Carter, Justin Bieber or any other teenage heartthrob with wispy blonde hair.
Twitter user @auscalum posted a picture of him yesterday afternoon, and the Internet took notice. A Twitter account with the bio “Official Alex from Target” now has 346,000 followers and counting. Another Twitter account, which tweeted for the first time 15 hours ago and also claims to be affiliated with Alex, has 24,000 followers.
Target is embracing the teen’s newfound fame, and presumably some extra attention from the youngs can only be a good thing for a brand that’s working to win back its mojo. Long adored by middle-class shoppers looking for chic clothes on the cheap, Target has suffered in recent years thanks to a declining interest in big box stores and a massive credit card hack last year.
The chain is looking to win customers back by highlighting designer collaborations and exclusive toy lines this holiday season, Fortune reported last month. Like Walmart, Target is also expanding its line of smaller format stores to lure urban customers.
But maybe all it takes is a cute teen employee?
“Imagine our surprise yesterday when one of our Target team members managed to flood the Internet with images of red and khaki without even trying,” Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for Target, wrote in an email. “We are proud to have a great team, including #AlexFromTarget.”
She added that out of respect for his privacy, the company isn’t revealing the location of Alex's store or making him available for interviews right now.
Like hundreds -- if not thousands -- of teenage girls, HuffPost is still waiting for Alex to respond to messages sent to his Twitter and Facebook accounts. Here are a few tweets from the account that claims to be the "Official Alex":
Target thought they could stop people from spelling out bad things by limiting the letters ...
Label peeling has been known to be connected with sexual frustration...
An old woman went up to the SIDE of customer service (meaning not in the LINE) and as I pass by with my trash can she says, "YOU! I CAN'T FIND EXTRA LARGE (detergent brand)!"
Me: Well we are a smaller store, we don't have all the items that.....
Old woman: THAT IS NO EXCUSE! IT WAS IN YOUR AD! I WANT A RAINCHECK!
Me: If you get in line here at customer service someone will assist you....
Old woman: NO! I'M DISABLED! I CANNOT STAND IN A LINE!
At this point the manager who is already helping people asks me to do the rain check.
I have done a rain check before- the item has to be missing; meaning I need to see the the code from the empty shelf.
Me: Where was the item supposed to be?
Old woman: IT'S NOT ANYWHERE! THIS IS FALSE ADVERTISING! IT'S RIGHT IN YOUR AD!
I work at a 'Jr Bullseye' and it is very common for people to see the ad for 'Regular Bullseye' and think it applies.
Me: Show me.
Old woman: IT'S........well it's not in THIS ad..
The supervisor is yelling from across the room for me to get the item code- which is pretty much impossible for me and my trash can.
I see a group of shelf stockers and they have a scanner that can do item search. I say to the nearest one
"(Supervisor) wants you to make a rain check for this customer."
She tries to hand me the scanner, but I say, in my most innocent voice, "But I'm just a janitor, I don't know how to use one of those...." as I proceeded to make my escape.
Yes I'm a terrible person and karma will get me.....
Back to cleaning,
I swear some of those security gates go off randomly just to freak people out.
Twice I've purchased DVDs from Bullseye. They won't set off the alarm there, but they've set off the alarm when I've tried to enter another store.
Maybe it's different systems or something. It's wicked annoying though because you need to go up to the counter with the item and the receipt to have them do the swishing turning off thingy.
Because their homophobic CEO Gregg Steinhafel stepped down in April. For years the LGBT community was pissed over his $100,000 donation of Target's dollars to a known gay-hating politcal candidate in his home state. He acted like it was no big deal but what else was he doing behind the scenes with Target's corporate power? It was sad and difficult that so may gays and their supporters were driven to boycotting a company that so many gays worked for. Now that Greg is gone, Target can go back to being the beloved Tar-zhay that so many of us enjoy shopping at!
From Huff Po:
Target announced its support for same-sex marriage in a court filing on Tuesday, finally putting an end to years of dodging the subject.
The mass market retailer signed an amicus brief in a case before a federal appeals court in Chicago, joining other big companies that have taken a stand for marriage equality. The case deals with legal issues in Wisconsin and Indiana, two states where lower courts have struck down gay-marriage bans.
"It is our belief that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that includes rights we believe individuals should have related to marriage," Jodee Kozlak, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Target, said in a statement posted on the company's official blog.
By finally making its stance public, Target joins other major U.S. corporations like Apple, Nike and Facebook in its open backing of same-sex marriage in U.S. courts.
Amicus, or "friend of the court," briefs, are filed by parties interested in a legal action, but not involved in the case. They're often filed in appeals of civil rights cases and other topics of public interest.
Target, which operates nearly 1,800 stores around the U.S. and boasts a worldwide workforce of around 360,000 people, has been criticized for remaining neutral on same-sex marriage in recent years.
In 2012, the company refused to take an official stance when a battle over marriage equality raged in its home state of Minnesota -- despite releasing wedding registry ads that featured two grooms. "We recognize that there is a broad range of strongly held views on the MN Marriage amendment," a Target spokeswoman said at the time, referring to a proposed amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
But this time, Target decided to make its position known.
"This brief is important, as the issues it addresses have significant impact on businesses," said Kozlak. "But it is more than that and we agreed that now is the right time to more directly share our views on this issue."
Target said it has "long offered comprehensive, competitive benefits" to its LGBT employees and their families. The company scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's 2014 Corporate Equality Index, which tracks corporate policies that affect LGBT workers.