Market research jargon for the kid who is deemed by his or her peers to be the "coolest" in their school, neighborhood, or town.
Hasbro kicked off its viral campaign by targeting kids in the Chicago schools.
Through a complicated selection process, Hasbro identified 1,600 "alpha pups" — boys who were clear trend leaders in their schools. Hasbro gave each a free POX, along with 10 more to hand out to their friends.
—"What is hip? 'Viral' marketing," The San Francisco Chronicle, December 14, 2003
Early this year, market researchers headed into playgrounds, skate parks and video arcades throughout Chicago looking for what they called alpha pups. They went up to boys between the ages of 8 and 13 with a question: 'Who's the coolest kid you know?' When they got a name, they would look for that kid and put the question to him. The goal was to ascend the hierarchy of coolness, asking the question again and again until someone finally answered 'Me.'
John Tierney, "Here Come the Alpha Pups," The New York Times, August 5, 2001