Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable maintains that traditional marketing no longer works. He writes that businesses need to develop a Purple Cow. That is, “anything phenomenal, counterintuitive, exciting, and remarkable.” He argues, “Consumers ignore a lot of brown cows, but you can bet they won’t ignore a Purple Cow.”
He encourages business people to be mavericks; outrageous enough to stand out from the crowd. Vanilla does not make it according to Godin. He exhorts his readers with phrases like:
- Go for the edges. Challenge yourself.
- Safe is risky.
- A product for everyone is a product for no one.
- Criticism comes to those who stand out.
Using the Godin standards above, I think my new CD (Find Your Happy Place!) might have hit the big time! That is, if “offensive” is a Purple Cow. Let me briefly explain.
In addition to online sales (iTunes, Napster, Amazon, CD Baby), a few local retailers carry Find Your Happy Place! A few weeks ago, one of these outlets hosted an election eve party for one of the local primary contests. The owner mixed my CD into the music shuffle for the gathered audience.
A few days later, the proprietor told me that some of the party guests told her they were “offended” by one of my songs. They asked her to remove the CD from the play list.
“Offended!” Wow. Strong word. Goes beyond saying I do not like your voice or songwriting. It is a moral condemnation. But for the life of me I could not figure out what was offensive. There is no profanity and I write about what I observe. Maybe truth offends. Perhaps.
The song in question is the first track of the CD, Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me). I got the idea for it after reading a book by the same name. It is about self-justification; about how people find ways, in the face of overwhelming counter evidence, to rationalize what they do and/or believe. The book is a wonderful read. I wrote the song from the perspective of people who are quick to blame others for their mistakes. I based the entire song on sarcasm…from the point of view of someone who might believe he/she is correct and the rest of the world is out of step. I picked four scenarios and sang about how each person might justify his/her actions: a demanding parent of a student; a conniving boss; a double-talking politician; and a cheating spouse. Musically, it has a great Jimmy Reed-type of groove that my good friend Billy Bowers added on lead guitar. With Billy’s nimble fingers and Mike Shackelford’s bluesy harp, the song cooks (in my humble opinion).
Now, maybe I should rename the song Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me—and By The Way This Is All Done With Tongue Firmly Implanted In Cheek!).
Whatever happens, I haven’t stopped smiling since hearing the news. Mistakes were made—but not by me.
© Steve Piscitelli and Steve Piscitelli’s Blog, 2010.