UPDATE: Viral Austin construction worker Instagram was marketing stunt, reports say
Update, 4:25 p.m.: Austin-based Cuvée Coffee has responded to the virality of an Instagram account that the company says it created for a local construction worker.
On Thursday, Cuvee owner Mike McKim wrote in a blog post on the coffee shop's website that the company was looking for "the influencer that really represented our brand. An influencer who could change the game." McKim said the company was inspired by the construction workers that frequent the shop and approached Omar, the man whose likeness the company eventually used on the Instagram account @justaconstructionguy.
The account took off, gaining more than 400,000 followers in a matter of days. McKim told Buzzfeed News on Thursday that he did not know the origin of a social media post purporting to be written by a member of Omar's family, which said that the construction worker started the account himself in an effort to become an influencer. That post spread to Reddit and led to the viral following of the Instagram account.
"He’s a family man with a wife and kids," McKim wrote in the blog post. "And for some weird reason, there are people who can’t wrap their head around that. Fortunately for Omar, there are way more people who can."
The American-Statesman has reached out to McKim for comment. Read the full blog post on the Cuvée website.
Update, 3:45 p.m.: The viral Instagram account that claims to be run by a coffee-loving construction worker and Austin dad is not what it appears to be. On Thursday, Buzzfeed News reported that the account is a marketing stunt from East Austin coffee shop Cuvée Coffee, working with marketing agency Bandolier Media.
According to the report, the account is not actually run by the man depicted. Cuvée Coffee owner Mike McKim told Buzzfeed News that the man's name is actually Omar, and that he was paid for his time on the photo shoots for the account. McKim also told Buzzfeed News that he did not know the origin of a tweet from Twitter user @barbzlovescarbs that led to the @justaconstructionguy account's viral following.
We will update this story as it develops.
Earlier: Austin's latest Instagram star doesn't look like the rest of Austin's Instagram stars.
We have dozens of Instagram influencer celebrities in Austin, who post perfectly cropped, filtered and captioned photos of what they wear, what they eat and drink, how they get around and where they catch those #austinvibes. Omar's Instagram is no different, except that he's on a construction site, which is likely next to Cuvee Coffee on East Sixth Street, according to one of the captions.
In fewer than 20 posts, he already has the coffee-splash shot, the mise-en-place-work-gear shot, the laughing-casually-while-drinking-coffee shot and the reaching-back-to-grab-a-hand shot down. His brunch game is strong; he recently posted from Trill Taqueria, a taco truck that specializes in "local produce and protein." It looks like he's a dad who might have already garnered a sponsorship deal with a local pub-crawling company, Hipside Peddler.
What's next for our budding internet superstar? We've reached out for comment, but until then, keep an eye out for more coffee, tacos and bright yellow safety vests.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the name of Cuvée Coffee's owner. His name is Mike McKim, not Matt Kim.