Sometimes the most effective marketing is so subtle you’re barely away that it’s marketing at all. And sometimes it’s so over the top it smacks you over the head with its outrageousness.
And sometimes it’s both.
Case in point—“The Fox,” a video from a Norwegian group called Ylvis:
If you just watched the video above for the first time, you’re probably shaking your head and wondering what the heck you just witnessed. How could a song be so ridiculous? What is the DEAL with those stupid lyrics? Why would anyone want to watch the video, let alone make such a thing?
(And yet, even as you think this, you can’t help but admit the tune is kind of… catchy.)
The truth is, Ylvis is a comedy act from Norway—two brothers who have a talk show à la Jimmy Kimmel and often include ridiculous parody music videos as part of their show. If you check out their YouTube channel you’ll see that several of their videos are in English and have equally nonsensical lyrics. (Warning: some of their videos contain NSFW ((not safe for work)) elements.)
They posted “The Fox” on September 3rd and within 10 days it generated almost 22 million views. (As a point of comparison, Gangnam Style received only 10 million views in its first 10 days. It went on to become the first video on YouTube to receive 1 billion views.)
Most of these viewers were people who had never heard of Ylvis and were being introduced to their “brand” for the first time. And many of them were motivated by sheer disbelief to share the video with their friends.
And so a viral sensation was born. The video is so popular that it recently debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart at number 28 and is sitting at number 3 on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart. There are articles about the song’s popularity on all the major news media. There are literally millions of people around the world who now know about Ylvis and have watched many of their videos and are curious to learn more about their TV show.
It’s the kind of exposure every business owner dreams of.
So what lesson can you take from this, other than the fact that Norwegians apparently have a twisted sense of humor?
Deliver the unexpected. Surprise people. Force them to ask questions so they’re encouraged to engage with you on a deeper level.
When you offer something that’s memorable, people will remember you. It’s pretty simple, when you think of it.
And if you can set it to a catchy tune that stays in peoples’ minds for DAYS—even better.