Everyone is looking for the next big thing, and that big thing may just be right here on BYU campus.
The #dirtychickendance, an Instragram account started by two BYU advertising students, just might be the next Gangnam Style. The #dirtychickendance, Instagram’s first official dance move, has more than 7,000 followers and has reached countries including Denmark, India, Japan, Portugal and Mexico. However, the dance’s creators, two best friends, never intended it to spread globally.
Last summer, Russell Ochoa and Justin Clegg, both BYU seniors, were bored and decided to create an animal dance while sitting in their living room. They got a good reaction from their friends from doing the chicken dance and started casually doing it at parties.
“It’s a very awkward dance move, and it was funny and we got a good reaction from everyone in the room,” Clegg said. “Your wings are out and you have your legs and they come up and are lanky and just kind of flap.”
Now people, any age and from any part of the world, can contribute to the Instagram account by doing the dirty chicken dance, taking a picture and sending the picture online. Clegg and Ochoa select from the most creative photos and post them to the dance’s Instagram account.
“Our goal was to leverage Instagram as a mobile platform, and it was an experiment with user engagement,” Clegg said. “We didn’t want people to just look at pictures, but we wanted to see if we could get people to participate and change their behavior.”
After leaving the living room and parties, the world became their platform.
“It would be really funny if we created an Instagram account just of the #dirtychickendance and take pictures of us doing the dirty chicken dance in random parts of the world,” Ochoa said.
Clegg created the Instagram, Twitter and YouTube accounts, and Ochoa created the website known as dirtychickendance.com. The photo goes onto the website after it’s tagged on Instagram.
Not sure how to do the dirty chicken dance? No fear. The Instagram account posted a picture taking the viewer through a four-step process to mastering it.
“Users can see that picture, learn how it works, then take pictures of themselves doing it,” Clegg said.
That’s when Mingle Media enters the story. Nick Ochoa (no relation to Russell), CEO of Mingle Media, saw an advertisement on Craigslist posted by Clegg and Russell Ochoa, read it and gave them a call. Nick Ochoa sees big dreams for #dirtychickendance and would love to monetize the idea. Nick Ochoa’s interns are already working on an account for the #dirtychickendance.
“The sky is the limit with something like this,” Nick Ochoa said. “The initial goal is to engage users who are posting these photos, then beyond that get a community behind #dirtychickendance. Maybe it becomes an entire subculture behind some event or charity campaign.”
Nick Ochoa also said he has big plans in mind for #dirtychickendance.
“I’d like to see taking it global, and see if it can go to the four corners of the world,” he said.
Russell Ochoa and Clegg hope that as the account grows, people who have posted to it will get some exposure. Businesses or celebrities can advertise or post on the account as well.
“As it gets more followers, whoever has posted on the account will get a lot of exposure,” Russell Ochoa said. “It’s kind of like an incentive for people to post it.”
The ultimate goal for these two best friends, however, is not advertising. The #dirtychickendance is just a fun way to spend some spare time while engaging a wide audience.
“I wouldn’t say advertising is my dream job right now; I come from a family of government workers, and I wouldn’t close that door to going that route,” Clegg said.
Russell Ochoa’s goal leans more towards the technology side.
“My ultimate goal is just to create some type of service or technology startup that goes viral and a lot of people use it, then move to San Fransisco or something,” Russell Ochoa said. “I’m not rushing it; if it happens, it happens. I’m not stressing about it.”
Similar to other single men at BYU, Russell Ochoa and Clegg’s ultimate success will be found in their marriages and family relationships. The #dirtychickendance isn’t the only idea occupying their minds.
“I feel like the secret to our success will be the wives we find,” Clegg said. “Behind every good man (is) a great wife, so that’s the main goal right now.”
It is a funny story. Two best friends, bored one summer, create a dance that goes viral. However, what is the point of the story? Social media creates an avenue for the millennial generation to create its own name and following.
“That’s the power in social media,” Nick Ochoa said. “We have these huge networks, and we can bring these ideas to life through social media. It can happen to anybody no matter how small the idea.”
One final point exists — a hidden message for BYU students, not just a creative plug for social media. When life gets stressful, no dates can be found and midterms approach, don’t forget to stop, relax and dance.
“As we face this decade of decision, sometimes it’s ok to stop and do the dirty chicken dance,” Clegg said.
Follow Russell Ochoa (@russellochoa) and Clegg (@j_clegg) for more photos of the #dirtychickendance.