The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?) by Ylvis
This is a child-friendly video if there ever was one! The video starts off with a costume party motif and some very upbeat music. Costumed characters like the bird, dog and commonly known animals parade by as the song points out they have distinctive, memorable sounds; but the fox does not.
It’s very engaging when the singer echoes out different animal sounds; while repeating that it’s hard to know what the fox says. Eventually the screen shifts to a dusky forest scene where there are splashes of all kinds of colored lights and an array of dancers. The forest makes for great acoustics and the lighting that the shoot demands. As they attempt to make a fox sound, they segue through a number of different possible fox utterances. The video is highly engaging, with well-enunciated uncomplicated lyrics (except when non-lyrics are used).
The theme, simple costumes and masks, makes one think that Ylvis must be animal lovers and may have enjoyed story time in their youth due to frequent scenes depicting an older man reading to a child. The Norwegian duo may in particular love the fox as well as other storybook characters, which often included this sly red-hued animal. The bottom line message is that there are some cut and dry things in life and then there are some things that are harder to grasp and understand.
There are some great splashes of light and a little levitation in the video. The singers continue to describe the fox and his activities, and then a live fox (or so it seems) enters the scene. The fox then bursts into dance moves and then responds, giving away the fact that it’s computer-animated. The video has numerous comedic moments which made sense as Ylvis is a Norwegian comedy duo of the brothers Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker.
The pair released the single to promote their forthcoming third season of TVNorge, which is their television talk show. In the second cut scene in the forest, Vegard is dressed as a squirrel and Bard as a bear; as both are wearing face paint and very bushy tails. The Fox is the highest ranking song by a Norwegian artist since 1985 and the electronic dance pop song gets people in a light and happy mood.
The brothers worked with Stargate, a New York City production company. Ole Martin Hafsmo directed the video and Magnus Flato provided the cinematography. The marionette-like dance choreography was done by Thea Bay. The forest scenes were filmed in Nittendal municipality, 22 kilometers from downtown Oslo, the city where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.
Their duel style of mixing comedy, costumes, and easy flowing pop beats provide a great fit for a multitude of mediums both for children as well as adult audiences. With such success in their wake, they attracted a deal with Warner Music, and have had fall appearances on The Today Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.