The Fox Says: “Everything’s Marketing”

If you haven’t seen the viral video “What Does the Fox Say?” by Ylvis, then stop reading this blog and watch it here.

That’s right, now.

The story behind this three minute, 45 second video is almost as fascinating as the video itself (which brought work to a halt for about a half hour here at Morrison). Ylvis is comprised of two brothers from Norway who have a TV comedy show in that country. Known for their musical and comedy clips in Norway, they decided to do a bit on their TV show about trying to break into the US market and being baffled that the video had been a flop. They then cut to the ludicrously faux-serious “What Does the Fox Say?”, presumably to show why it had been a flop. It was intended to be a one-off, just for that show.

It didn’t work out that way. As of this writing it has had over 130 million You Tube hits and the brothers have performed it live on US television, including the Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres shows.

What the brothers learned is that everything’s marketing, even if you don’t mean it that way. Morrison consultant Toni Scott made a similar point in her blog “Communicating Your Competence Through Email” (, but just about anything you do or say can have an impact on how you’re valued in the marketplace.

We’ve learned that many times over the years at Morrison. My favorite “new client” story began when I didn’t have enough small bills to pay the parking kiosk at a conference I was attending. Seeing my dilemma, a complete stranger gave me four bucks; I thanked him profusely and he went on his way.

Which turned out to be the same conference I was attending. He is the chief financial officer of a large west coast food processor, and I thanked him again and struck up a conversation. When I got home I sent him a thank you card – and four bucks. He contacted me about a project shortly after and we are now beginning our second project for them in the eight months since we met in the parking lot.

We do executive searches focused on our areas of expertise but have not formally marketed the service; there’s about two sentences about it on our website. Even so, it has become our fastest growing service line. Why? We send out email notifications for every search, and while not everyone has a candidate for us, everyone is reminded that we do searches and many remember us when they need help. We have four searches in progress as this is written, more than we used to do in a year a few years back.

So for good or for ill, everything we do has a message and everything catches someone’s attention. It can be hard to make these things happen on purpose (whole industries have sprung up around “viral” marketing to try) but it’s a good thing to keep in mind when meeting people, sending emails, posting online, or any of a thousand other routine things we do every day.

About the Author
Brent Morrison is the founding principal at Morrison. To get in touch with Brent, please find contact information for Morrison here.


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