At the start of 2019, a photo of an egg appeared on Instagram and no one really noticed.
A message accompanying the photo read: “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)!”
Two weeks later, the photo made news headlines around the world when it raced past Jenner’s image to score 21 million likes. Today it has more than double that.
Throughout the bizarre episode, the person behind the photo chose to remain anonymous, preferring instead to put the spotlight on Eugene (that’s the egg), and Henrietta, the bird that brought it into the world (actually, the image was bought from a photo library).
Keen to learn more, BuzzFeed recently managed to uncover the identity of the person behind the stunt, with the New York Times following up with an interview.
His name is Chris Godfrey and he works for an ad agency in London, U.K. Clearly he’s in the right profession considering his remarkable success in marketing an egg, Godfrey told the Times that he chose this particular object for his Instagram challenge because it has no gender, no race, and no religion, adding rather profoundly, “An egg is an egg, it’s universal.”
Quizzed on how the egg caused such a stir on Instagram, 29-year-old Godfrey was keen to dispel rumors that he had paid influencers to spread the word, claiming that the egg’s growing fame happened in a way that was “completely organic.”
As he monitored the stats connected with the photo, he noticed early on that most interactions took place soon after schools were out, suggesting, perhaps not surprisingly, that it was many of Instagram’s most enthusiastic users that brought the egg global recognition.
The next chapter
And this curious tale isn’t over yet, as the egg has just appeared in a commercial encouraging anyone struggling in their daily life to seek help. Shown on Hulu after the Super Bowl, the ad featured Eugene cracking up in response to all of the recent attention.
“The pressure of social media is getting to me,” the egg discloses in the Hulu-produced commercial, adding, “If you’re struggling, too, talk to someone.” The commercial then directs viewers to Mental Health America website.
We’d like to thank #TalkingEgg for shining a limelight on #mentalhealth tonight with an important message. Not everyone chooses to #fightintheopen for mental health, but you did for the 1 in 5 Americans living with a mental health condition. Thank you, #EggGang! pic.twitter.com/9KPlXG5re4
— Mental Health America (@MentalHealthAm) February 4, 2019
Godfrey said he wants to put the egg’s fame to positive use, and says mental health is the first of a number of issues Eugene will highlight.
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