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Why The Internet Is So Obsessed With Jenna Ortega

If you have a phone, an internet connection, or a smart TV, chances are you've seen Jenna Ortega's highly celebrated dance to the iconically strange Goo Goo Muck in her new hit show WEDNESDAY.

In true viral fashion, the self-choreographed scene was exploding on video share platforms within 24 hours of the show's Netflix release, and at this point its popularity is only growing (Russian Olympic figure skater Kamila Valieva did a top-notch reenactment for the Russian Figure Skating Championships in case you missed it).

So, why is the internet so obsessed with this instant classic of a dance scene?

Let's break down the top six things Jenna Ortega did to get everyone talking about it, watching it, and jumping over themselves to participate in it.


She took a classic and made it her own:

When Jenna chose to choreograph the dance herself based on research she'd done into the history of the Addams family brand, the gothic club scene, and iconic goth figures of the past - she took an idea that everyone was familiar with and breathed new life into it.

As consumers, we're all about nostalgia. It's why we love a reimagined classic, so we can relive the feelings and experiences of cherished past memories. BUT, we only love a reimagined classic as much as its newness surprises and delights us.

Too similar, and it feels a bit dull. Too different, and it feels like too much of a departure.

Jenna's performance put her squarely in the sweet spot of her audience's nostalgic fantasies by harkening back to the original (long time fans will recognize the Wednesday shuffle from the classic series as part of her dance), but adding her own imaginative flair.

This same principle can be applied to branding by taking a concept your audience is familiar with, and putting an exciting new twist it in.

A great example: summer camps for adults…all the fun and nostalgia of your childhood, plus some crafted cocktails and a later curfew. What's not to love?


She's niche, niche, niche

One of the brilliant things about Wednesday as a character (and the entire Addams family) is she doesn't waste a second straying from her niche. Her personality archetype is in your face and you know right away whether or not you're a fan of her character.

She's serious, spooky, and morose, and makes zero apologies for it. And because of this, her fan base is extremely loyal in their fanatic obsession.

The lesson here? Being crystal clear about who you're for through how you brand yourself is the fastest way to create buzz and obsession over your brand. When you try to appeal to everyone, your brand and its message are muddied, and you end up catching people at random instead of drawing the right people in.

Niching down and designing your brand around your ideal client lets you leverage this “moth to the flame” effect and attract aligned work into your life.


She allowed people to see themselves in her performance

I'm willing to bet if you pop into your "following" list on Instagram, most of the influencers, famous people, and blue checkmarks you see there are going to belong to people you relate to in some way. Maybe they have the same political beliefs, care about the same causes, have lifestyle similarities, or share your sense of humor.

We engage with people we feel we have commonalities with. Commonalities = community. Community = safety and belonging.

When Jenna Ortega embraced her fully surly, fully fabulous character role and brought it to the forefront of our global attention, she allowed every person who feels that same love for dark humor and art to fully embrace themselves.

When what we do, how we speak, and how we show up allows others permission to do the same, our brand goes beyond simply being a commodity - it becomes a movement with its own community. And that is seriously powerful place to be.


She made being unconventional a selling point

If you're a 90s kid like me…you're LIVING for how cool fanny packs are these days (I'm slowly growing my collection). When we're “allowed” to embrace things that used to feel like points of embarrassment, we're allowed to embrace the full spectrum of who we are. Wednesday's character gets this - she makes being unpopular and unapproachable COOL.

By leaning into what makes her difference as a selling point rather than trying to conform to what's expected or how everyone else is operating, she immediately creates a dividing line in the sand.

Her mere existence forces us to evaluate our own identity - are we the “embrace our oddities” type of person or the “do what's trendy” type of person?

When we can make our quirks the thing that sets us apart instead of a problem to be solved, we immediately find ourselves ahead of the branding curve…or in other words, let that freak flag fly babe.


She knew how to speak to her audience

A truly admirable piece of Jenna Ortega's performance was just how much research and immersion she put into playing the Wednesday Addams role. The same is needed when it comes to branding your business. Speaking to your audience in a meaningful way comes from two important processes:

  1. Digging deep to define yourself

  2. Digging deep to get to know your audience

Jenna's pure acceptance in this role came from a deep understanding of the culture surrounding both the story and the audience who loves it.

This is why brand strategy is so important as a precursor to executing the design and message behind your brand. It's through the branding process we're able to access the meaning, motivators, and ideologies at play for our audience.





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