Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks you should be fully aware of the photo of an egg that went viral and claimed the top spot for having the most liked photo on Instagram.
The simple photo of an ordinary, brown egg has garnered over 48 million likes, originally shared on January 4 on the anonymous UK-based Instagram account @world_record_egg which has over 7.7 million followers.
Despite the person who posted the photo remains anonymous, the internet has a 19-year-old viral marketing guru to thank for the post going viral and gathering so much popularity within the space of a couple of days.
Enter The Guru
Massachusetts-based Ishan Goel played a helping hand in making the photo of the egg circulate the internet and gather the likes last year. The marketing guru said that he was the “gasoline” that helped fuel the popularity of the post.
He said: “I won’t go into too many specifics about the secret sauce, but I can say that I worked to garner attention for the page on Reddit, reached out to media really early on, and told all of the celebrities and influencers in my network to help push it.
“I would like to give all credit to the chicken who laid this egg. They were the spark. I was the gasoline,” he added.
The actual identity of the original poster still remains anonymous, simply posted by a UK-based Instagram user @world_record_egg, but the viral post itself is a stock image of an egg, originally photographed by Sergey Platonov.
The photo was captioned: “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. … We got this.”
Liked By Millions
The post has managed to gather a whopping 48.3 million likes and counting since it was posted and has since even made an appearance on the cover of a digital issue of Paper Magazine – the same publication that helped Kim Kardashian “break the internet” with her semi-nude photo shoot in 2014.
And the reason the photo gathered so much attention, according to Ishan, is because “the egg isn’t a person, it represents something bigger.”
Ishan said: “The idea that an inanimate object can connect so many people is a testament to the fact that people love to root for the underdog.
“Celebrities wield so much power and influence, and an egg uniting so many people is a powerful commentary on social media’s impact on society today. Social media has given celebrities this sort of omnipotence.
He added: “People can rally around the thrill of outdoing a celebrity. It makes the world seem less intimidating, more light-hearted, and more accessible.”
Simplicity Makes For Popularity
Ishan added that the simplicity of the photo being a brown egg added to its popularity.
He said that the fact that the photo was just that of a simple brown egg brought a funny element to the whole concept of getting more likes on a meaningless photo.
“The fact that it’s just an egg has a face of comedy to it. The fact that the egg is very sharply photographed made it appealing to want to like and the cause of beating out a celebrity with “an egg” makes this something anyone would be happy to get behind, regardless of their views on any topics,” he said.
Success In Anonymity
By adding an element of mystery to the photo, the poster’s anonymity has also played a part in the post’s success.
Ishan said: “Finding the true owner of this account is on everyone’s mind right now, which has opened the doors to many impostors. All of the frenzy just adds more fuel to the fire behind virality of the page.
“People love to wonder, and the anonymity element of the account owner in this case is hugely mystifying.”
He added that the various different people claiming to be the person behind the post has also helped the post gain popularity.
“The question is still unanswered which turns it into a world wide mystery.
“I remember in one of my early conversations with the account holder they said a quote “loose lips sink ships”, which has really taken weight over the lifespan and growth of this viral phenomenon,” he said.
According to the 19-year-old, “the egg is symbolic of the divide between celebrities and everyone else.”
For this reason, Ishan thinks the excitement around the meme might last longer than any other viral sensation, which he says usually only last for between eight to ten days.
He said: “There are celebrities getting tattoos of the egg, and even people falsely claiming ownership over it.
“The internet typically has a short attention span. This time it may be different, because the egg is symbolic of the divide between celebrities and everyone else.
He added: “The life cycle of something like this is unclear, but I suspect it will stick around for longer due to copycat challenges and spin-offs.”
Explaining the general life cycle of a viral meme or photo, Ishan said that their popularity usually tends to die down after a certain amount of time.
He said: “It starts off in a small area as a spark, then it is picked up by pages that have large followings, leading it to become mainstream.
“It then shifts to the media, and once local and then international media have picked up the meme, it is only days before the older demographic start to find out and talk about it.
He added: “Once that happens, the novelty wears off and the meme tends to fade out.”
“Novelty plays a huge part here. There is a huge attrition rate in interest as the novelty wears off,” Ishan said.
Profile of a Guru
Ishan began building up his experience in the area of viral marketing from a young age.
During middle school, he worked as an event photographer, shooting at different local events.
He said: “I began by photographing events for the Dallas Marathon, and many other big companies, which put me in proximity to key people who have played a huge role in my growth over the years.”
When he was 15-years-old, Ishan secured an internship at the Mark Cuban Companies, where he worked on different projects before starting a marketing company of his own called Goel Strategies.
He said: “I have learned over the years that marketing is in art form that relies on a combination of factors.
“Having worked with numerous brands and companies, I guess I have learned how to always keep my finger on the pulse of what makes people tick.”
He added that when it comes to achieving viral success, a combination of timing, placement, and “influence involvement” can all play a vital role.
“There is often no rhyme or reason to things going viral but what comes from it is all that matters,” he added.
The photo of the egg gained so much popularity that Paper Magazine featured an egg on the front cover of one of their digital issues with a headline that read “break the internet.”
Words by Elijah (Content Marketer).