‘Memes to dreams’: viral Popeyes boy finally reaps reward of online fame

Taking advantage of his widespread popularity, the protagonist of the viral internet meme featuring a young boy looking sideways in bewilderment with a beverage in his grasp while queuing at a Popeyes restaurant has ultimately reached the ten-year mark.

Thanks to a policy change by an organization that governs collegiate sports in the US, student athletes now have the opportunity to earn sponsorship money. This enabled 18-year-old Collin Dieunerst, a player for the football team at Erie Lake College in Painesville, Ohio, to finally cash in on his online fame.

“But fear not young sir, we did not allow it to impede us,” Collin stated in a social media video that Popeyes shared last week, disclosing that the fast-food establishment had contracted him for a partnership that would showcase him on billboards and other promotional materials. “The incident that transformed us into a viral sensation – it was not a deliberate request on our part.”

A stranger who resembled Collin, a boy known on social media for his dance moves, believed that he saw him while standing in line holding a cup of lemonade, recording him on his phone, when Collin became famous on the internet at the age of nine and went to Popeyes to pick up a family pack of chicken, fries, and biscuits in Irvington, New Jersey.

The declaration of captions with combined social media on numerous occasions has often been obscured or caused discomfort, and it has gone viral. The clip was published on the now-defunct video-sharing platform Vine by a stranger. Collin was recording him, which left the stranger puzzled as to why.

People would refer to him as the dancing boy, similar to how the stranger perceived Collin. Collin’s family initially felt frustrated and made attempts to have the image removed from the internet.

“I simply never imagined it would become so large,” Collin stated, as reported by CNN on Friday.

Collin, a local star, embraced the enduring popularity of his history-making meme as he posed with the trophy, harkening back to that side-eyed expression that helped his high school football team win the 2021 New Jersey state championship.

In a post featuring an image of Collin’s meme and him proudly clutching the trophy he earned alongside his school, a Twitter user exclaimed, “From Popeyes to being crowned state champion!”

An endorsement deal ended up with him this time, thanks to that widely shared tweet, which once again made Collin go viral.

On 8 January, Collin utilized his Instagram account to send a message to Popeyes, accompanied by a screenshot of the widely shared tweet celebrating his state champion victory, as he officially joined Lake Erie for his pursuits in football and communications studies.

“I simply want to discuss business,” Collin wrote, his request to Popeyes being supported by other well-known social media users.

Just under two years ago, the NCAA approved the so-called name, image, and likeness (NIL) agreements that Popeyes entered into with Collins by January 12th.

Deal endorsement the about Popeyes from statement a said,”again once feeds media social grace will Dieunerst and Popeyes, dreams to memes from”.

Collin, who aspires to play professional football and pursue a career as a sports analyst, has chosen not to disclose the details of his agreement with Popeyes.

“Stay vigilant for additional entertaining [Collin] material,” the franchise has encouraged followers. In his place of origin, East Orange, New Jersey, images of him from back then – queuing up all those years ago – and presently have been displayed on a billboard by Popeyes.

“Collin told CNN that if there is no proof, it is a truism that a lot can happen with the power behind the internet.”