Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Mark Dapin's forthcoming book 'Fridge magnets are bastards' is a rant in alphabetical order. An excerpt appeared in Saturday's Age.

First, Dapin's definition of bastards:
At best, bastards impersonate the performance of a function and, at worst, they perform the opposite of that function. Financial planners, for instance, pretend to be planning your finances, when they are, in fact, using your finances to plan theirs.

After discussing invisible elephants, executive toys and learning curves, among other weasel words, he turns to the purple cow. Not familiar with the term? Be enlightened.
noun 1. nonexistent animal used to illustrate nonexistent concepts, e.g. originality in marketing.

Bastards love their imaginary menagerie. If they are not preoccupied with finding the invisible elephant, they are often out looking for the purple cow.

Small children like to be taught about the world through the exploits of talking ducks and the like. Executives — who are generally not big readers — also require short, pithy stories about their favourite animals to understand the world around them. Certain brand managers have been known to cry themselves to sleep if they do not hear the story about the purple cow.

The concept of the purple cow came from marketing guru Seth Godin, who had an epiphany while driving through the French countryside. Although he was at first "enchanted" by all the cows in the fields, he soon realised they were "boring". "A purple cow though: now that would really stand out," he wrote, apparently seriously.

So far we've been spared that little zoological wonder in our emails from upstairs. But how much longer until it becomes part of our managerial lexicon? I'm taking bets.


Lynsey said...

BHAG (Big Hairy Awesome Goal)?
Good to Great?

Had 'em. Loathed 'em. How you doing? Had any of those?

Snail said...

Not yet. I'm sure they're coming.

I think we're still on flagships and lighthouses. And clusters. Whenever I hear the word 'clusters' I have to leave the room so I don't make a joke about haemorrhoids.