The pressure of being a social media superstar was just too much.
It was only a month ago when life/Instagram as we known it was thrown into chaos as a plain brown egg unseated Kylie Jenner as the reigning queen of the social media platform. Originally uploaded on January 4 by the account "World Record Egg," the photo (again, just an egg against a stark white background) is captioned, "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)! We got this." Jenner's announcement of the birth of her daughter Stormi Webster, accompanied by an admittedly sweet photo of Stormi's baby hand gripping Kylie's thumb, had previously held the title.
The internet banded together and surpassed that number nearly threefold—as of this writing the original post has over 52 million likes. But what has our egg friend (who fans have dubbed "Eugene") been up to since then? And who, exactly, is behind its rise to fame?
On January 18, World Record Egg posted a second (captionless) photo to Instagram, this one with Eugene showing a tiny crack. It was followed by several more photos—spaced a few days apart—each revealing more and more cracks in the internet's new mascot. Finally, the day before the Super Bowl, another new photo appeared, promising an important reveal during the big game, and directing followers to Hulu for the payoff.
There, subscribers who watched the only available episode of World Record Egg, titled "The Reveal," were met with something surprisingly uplifting: a one-minute video about mental health from Eugene himself. The narration: "Recently I've started to crack. The pressure of social media is getting to me. If you're struggling too, talk to someone. We got this." At the end, our helpful pal points viewers to the website for the nonprofit group Mental Health America.
As Mental Health America explained on Twitter, World Record Egg's account holder (who the New York Times reports is London-based advertising creative Chris Godfrey) reached out to them after partnering with Hulu once Eugene went viral (yes, the video-streaming platform is paying the egg's team). So, while Eugene's success was a little gimmicky (it was, in part, a Hulu promotion), there are worse ways to use your internet fame than by shining a light on mental health and encouraging people to get help if they need it.