It's hard to pinpoint the factors that combine to become a lasting internet meme. But an engaging picture is usually part of the equation. In the case of the meme above, an adorable picture of Sammy Griner taken by his photographer mother Laney was the photo that launched a million "Success Kid" meme graphics.
Sammy wasn't yet one year old when his mom snapped a picture of him on the beach, a handful of sand clenched tightly in his little hand. Laney posted the picture to Flickr in 2007, with the caption "Why I Oughta..." and, after years of making the internet rounds, a meme was born. Virgin Media has since purchased the rights to Sammy's picture to use it on UK billboards, and Vitamin Water used the photo in an advertisement. Success Kid sounds about right!
Read about other regular people who became memes at Mental Floss.