Dumb Internet: The Great Rise (And Great Fall) Of The 'Most Liked' Instagram Egg
To have the most liked post on social media is like having the high score on the Internet arcade game. And according to Instagram, countless venerable news sources, and the Guinness Book of World Records, that honor doesn't go to a sponsored Ariana Grande engagement pic or a group photo teasing a The Office reunion or even a stealth marketing campaign where Wendy's calls Jack in the Box a "cuck." The honor goes to a simple picture of an egg.
But is it just an egg? Because the story of Eugene (that's the egg's name) would have you believe that it isn't merely an oversized ovum but a symbol, a hero of the common social media man. It all started in January of 2019 when the mysterious world_record_egg Instagram account was making the rounds all over social media. Its call to action was simple: like-bomb this random egg and oust self-made billionaire Kylie Jenner who had cynically claimed the most liked internet post ever with a picture of her baby grabbing her finger. Will rich influencers stop at nothing to shill for their brand overlord--oh, the post wasn't sponsored? It was just a pic of her newborn? Still, though, remember when Kylie called herself bipolar for switching hair color? So, screw that, baby?
The anti-Jenner campaign was a raging success. The eggy Insta racked up 54.8 million likes, more than twice the numbers of any professional influencer to this day, becoming so famous it even got a shoutout from Tom Hanks. More impressively, it turned out that the world record egg wasn't some secret marketing stunt carefully plotted by a shady marketing team to promote the revamped Egg McMuffin. Eugene the Egg was the creation of just one regular guy, Chris Godfrey -- who just happened to also be an ad executive. Also, he got some help from his two ad executive partners. And a squad of faceless freelancers paid to maximize engagement. But together, these scrappy underdogs(?) managed to convince millions of mostly children and teens to brigade up and "put high profile social media personalities in their place."
While that doesn't exactly sound like the most positive message, what followed next surely does. After reaching the world record for likes and then some, Eugene's channel encouraged people to buy World Record Egg merchandise to support mental health charities. Did the merch's profits go to said charities? 10% of it did! This wholesomeness caught the attention of Disney's Hulu, which hired ad guy Godfrey to turn this socially engineered egg that relied on peer pressure to get kids invested in an Instagram pissing contest into the mascot for healthy social media usage. The next posts saw Eugene starting to crack under the social media pressure, confessing, "The pressure of social media is getting to me. If you're struggling, too, talk to someone."
As such, whatever its original clout trolling intentions may have been, Eugene the Egg did more for mental health awareness than a dozen Kylie Jenners combined. To quote Chris Godfrey: "It's what you do with that attention that counts." So what did Eugene the egg do with all that attention as brand ambassador for social media mental health? Ironically, the egg seemed to have actually cracked under the pressure. Not being able to follow up its original act, the channel has now transformed into an incredibly generic wellness brand, sporadically firing off brightly colored posts with "it me" platitudes like: "Be brave enough to be bad at something new," or: "New Year. Same me."
With its indie ad-team having moved on to go work for the likes of Sony and the channel not having anything important to do or say, it seems everyone forgot about Eugene as quickly as they became aware of them. Today, the account has lost millions of followers, its modest amount of likes dwindle with every new post, and, ironically, most of the comments left under them are either people trolling Eugene for their undeserved fame or, sadly, promoting their own channels in a desperate bid to get more followers.
As such, the World Record Egg Instagram does still work as a cautionary tale for the pressure and pitfalls of chasing clout on social media. Like an eggy Icarus, Eugene flew too close to the Instagram sun -- only to plummet down because its wings were held together with egg yolk and empty promises.
For more funny yolks (that's the best he's got), you can follow Cedric on Twitter.
Top Image: world_record_egg, Instagram