Yodelers, Get Your Yodel On

The art of yodeling—alternating one’s vocals between falsetto and natural voice, reflecting the duality of the highs and lows of the human condition—was invented eons ago in the Swiss Alps by mountain men in lederhosen who used the otherworldly sounds to give one another what may have been the first known shout-outs. Unlike the present day, where people e-mail messages like, “Dude, what’s up?”

With the yodel as its aural symbol, Yahoo! is the perfect link between that ancient warble and today’s age of sophistication. To solidify its connection to history, the company is holding the first Yahoo! Yodel Challenge, a search for America’s favorite amateur yodeler. The winner not only achieves yodeling stardom by appearing in a Yahoo! TV spot, he or she also pockets $10,000. Something to yodel about, indeed!

The first contest was held Aug. 1 in Times Square, and the tour will soon hit seven other U.S. cities. Wylie Gustafson, the famous Yahoo! yodeler, is hosting, having settled his copyright-infringement lawsuit against the company last April. (“It’s all water under the bridge,” he says.)

“I’m sure this was the first time the sound of 60 yodelers was heard echoing through Broadway,” notes Gustafson (who verified his identity during an interview by emitting a blistering “Yahoooooo …”).

“Yodeling plays off our brand image of fun, trustworthy and innovative, and the contest seemed like the best way to express that,” adds vp of marketing Murray Gaylord.