Rock ‘n’ roll legend, Lou Reed, who sadly died on Monday, was a great example of the “purple cow” described by author and marketing expert, Seth Godin, in his best-selling book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.
Godin might be decribed as the father of online marketing. He was quick to see that the internet signalled the end of mass marketing, and that the future lay in difference.
He caputured his idea of success with the image of the purple cow: to stand out as a business is to be the purple cow in a field of Holsteins (black and white cows), Godin wrote.
Lou Reed, who studied journalism before giving birth an entirely new genre of rock ‘n’roll, later known as punk, instinctively understood the notion of the purple cow. His approach to marketing himself (if you could call it that) was as different to traditional notions as his music was to the mainstream.
He once called journalists … “a species of foul vermin. I wouldn’t hire people like you to guard my sewer. Journalists are morons, idiots – I don’t perform to idiots. Journalists are ignorant and stupid.” Not exactly spin!
Then he turned around and charmed ABC Radio’s Jon Faine during an interview in 2003 to promote his just-released album, The Raven.
Most of all, he was a purple cow in the music scene, able to parody the pop song without putting it down, like his song Perfect Day:
“Oh, it’s such a perfect day / I’m glad I spend it with you / Oh, such a perfect day / You just keep me hanging on … Just a perfect day / You made me forget myself / I thought I was someone else, someone good.”