As of this morning the unlikely hit song "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" had over 236 million views. According to a New York Times article, the song actually began as a joke. Three months after its video release, the world is still wondering what the fox says? Ellen DeGeneres, Morgan Freeman, Jimmy Fallon, and even Jack Hanna have chimed in on this viral hit from the two Norwegian brothers.
So, what does the fox say?
1) Don't listen to those who claim to have all the answers.
No one could have predicted the popularity that has ensued since this song was released. 236,000,000 views -- there was no marketing plan that had this goal in mind.
2) You cannot control viral.
By sheer definition, something goes viral when it is shared. It is difficult to manipulate this process because it moves from being shared to simply being marketed.
3) Build in a layer of flexibility, and be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances.
The Ylvisaker brothers, originators of this song, have now been seen on Ellen, Late Night, and a host of others. What started as a joke has continued to grow because they were flexible enough to see the wave, and then ride it. Malcolm Gladwell has a great book on this topic called Tipping Point. Gladwell describes it as that "magic moment when an idea, a trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire."
Be flexible in your marketing plans. You cannot account for all variables but you can be ready to alter course for more favorable winds should your idea or plan reach a tipping point.
4) Understand the life cycle of what you offer.
At some point the novelty of this will wear off and one of two things will happen. One, the Ylvis brothers will make another song similar to this one in hopes of replicating the success of what they have experienced. Or, there will be copycats trying to accomplish what just happened with the Ylvis brothers. In all likelihood both will occur.
Wisdom would suggest that the Norwegian duo leave a sequel to this song on the shelves and take their collective ability and channel it into something different, something that might become the next viral hit. As for the copycats, not sure wisdom plays a role in the thought process anyway so look for other songs asking us what other animals say very soon (if not already).
Now, if someone could tell me who put the "o" in coyote, then I would really be thankful.