NEW YORK — What does the fox say? Ka-ching at the moment, at least for some Halloween costume sellers and two Norwegian TV hosts who asked the question in a goofy video that landed them on U.S. talk shows and music charts.
Funny brothers Vegard and Bard Ylvisaker, known as Ylvis, elevated the woodland creature in early September and have scored more than 150 million YouTube views of them prancing in fox suits singing: “Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!”
That, coming so close to Halloween, has the mysteriously sounding fox going tail to tail for meme-of-the-holiday with twerking teddy bears, the more modest companions of the barely dressed Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards.
Spirit Halloween, with strong online sales and more than 1,050 stores across the country and Canada, is among those doing a brisk business in fox costumes, bushy tails and a furry head piece that looks remarkably like the one worn by the duo. Spirit sold out of some popular fox costumes and accessories online after the video struck, said Lisa Barr, the Halloween company’s senior director of marketing.
“Although fox is selling out, Twerkin’ Teddy (a tongue-out, bear decorated leotard) is selling out even faster,” she said.
Yandy.com has seen a 227 percent increase over last year in sales of its exclusive Sexy Fox costume for women — into the hundreds at $245 each.
The fox, it appears, was enjoying a boost before the shaggy-haired Norwegians put together their disco-like gyrations to promote their late-night show, mockingly lamenting: “Ducks go blub and the seal goes ow, ow, ow. But there’s one sound that no one knows. What does the fox say?”
The last thing the Ylvisakers expected was to become godfathers of the fox, a word — by the way — that translates to “rev” in Norwegian and is slang for joint, of the smoking variety.
“There have been speculations that we were under the influence at the time we wrote the song, but I’m sorry that’s not the case,” Bard, 32, deadpanned in a telephone interview from Oslo. “It would have sounded much more rock ‘n’ roll. It’s not that common over here. We’re way more into alcohol than you guys. You do a lot of smoking. We don’t.”
How do the brothers feel about the fleet-footed animal, anyway? Is it a favorite?
It is now, Bard said. “Prior to that I would say I don’t know. As long as it’s not cats. I hate cats. I’ve always hated cats.”
While Barr tries to shake the tune from her head, at least one Halloween merrymaker is more than a little giddy. Her name? Shelby Fox, who lives in Los Angeles.