Yeah among the reasons to think it’s not just a pr stunt or deliberate marketing. A lot of it is, a lot of it is not.
And now to quote my friend Liz comparing One Direction to wrestling:
Do you listen to Radiolab at all? There’s a recent episode called “La Mancha Screwjob” (http://www.radiolab.org/story/la-mancha-screwjob) where they talk about this famous pro-wrestling match that was a real game-changer for wrestling generally, but also interesting in terms of reality/fakeness (as is all pro-wrestling- it’s fake, but there’s elements of reality and the line there is really fascinating). At one point (about 26 minutes in to the episode) they start talking about truth:
It’s not just about the truth: you still have these writers, and the wrestlers themselves… So It’s not like [wrestling] is now a “true world.” It’s more like there are these tiny injections of truth in to this world in these really unexpected moments. What that does, is it puts everyone on high alert all the time for those moments, and when everyone’s on high alert, every moment has the potential to be true, has the potential to have those injections of truth. And when you are watching for those moments it completely changes how you’re engaging with the art form. And that creates an entirely new type of fan.
You should listen to the whole episode if you’ve got time/are interested, ‘cause it’s really really interesting (even the pro wrestling stuff, but then they go on to talk about Don Quixote and that novel’s relationship with “truth”), but I liked that quote a lot. It reminds me especially of the Larry part of the 1D fandom - always searching for the moments of truth among all the enormous amounts of bullshit, publicity, money, and politics.