12 most unique examples from the Purple Goldfish Project


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Republished from my original post on 12most.com

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A little over two years ago I embarked on a quest. I set out to find 1,001 examples of marketing lagniappe. Companies who differentiate themselves by glue “giving little unexpected extras.” We’re all familiar with added value, examples like the DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookie, Southwest “Bags Fly Free,” Zappos Free Shipping / Upgrades and Five Guys Peanuts & Bonus Fries.

I’ve made it to the mountaintop … collecting my 1,001 examples and launching the book, What’s Your Purple Goldfish?

What was fun about the Project were a dozen or so of the examples that really stood out. Signature extras to the core. Here are my 12 most unique examples:

1. Worry Dolls


Besito in Long Island, NY hands out wrapped churros and worry dolls at the end of your meal. The story behind the thumbnail sized dolls is that you put them under your pillow at night. Tell the dolls one worry and they take your worries away.

2. Guppy Love

guppy love kimpton hotels

Kimpton literally has a purple goldfish. If you are a lonely traveler in need of company, they’ll give you a fish for your stay. Don’t worry… the staff feeds it.


four seasons chop

My friend Doug Pirnie once stayed at the Four Seasons in Singapore for an extended period. The staff made him his own “chop.” A chop is a stamp that accompanies your signature.

4. Helicopter Roadside Assistance


If your LFA* breaks down over in Europe, Lexus will helicopter in a team to fix it. A big repair… no problem as Lexus is prepared to put you up in five star accommodations.

* one small snag, the LFA costs $400,000



At the Alligator Lounge in Brooklyn. Buy a beer, you get a pizza. And not just an ordinary pizza… a wood fire oven pizza. In the words of a reviewer on a food site:

“The same pizza in Manhattan would have set me back 15 bucks. Would I be back? I’m thinking of getting an apartment above the place!”

6. What’s an Izzy?


Izzy’s Ice Cream is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Two cool things (pun intended) that proprietor Jeff Sommers does. The first is the IZZY. A great way to do sampling. Every purchased scoop of ice cream gets an Izzy on top. A mini-scoop of another flavor on the house. Click here to read the full post and the cool things they are doing with RFID

7. Chipping in for your best fans


The Tampa Bay Lightning gave season ticket holders a special game jersey this year. Embedded in a patch on the sleeve was a computer chip. Scan it and receive 25% and 35% off foor and merchandise at the arena. Nice way to say “thanks” to your best customers.

8. Sparkling Coins


The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco washes their change. The tradition dates back over 70 years. Coins look like sparkly bits after a good tops and tails bath.

9. Pay it Forward Dry Cleaning


Down on your luck. Looking for work. If you’re unemployed and need to look spiffy for an interview, Plaza Cleaners of Portland will dry clean your suit for free. Nice way of “paying it forward.”

10. Squid Ink QR Code


How do you let customers track the fresh local seafood you serve? Taranta in the North End of Boston takes some squid ink and creates a QR code. Snap the code and it takes you to a website called Trace and Trust.

11. Frustration free packaging


frustration free packaging

I have two small boys. I hate clamshells and wire ties with a passion. Amazon has created “frustration free packaging whereby they work with toy manufacturers to eliminate excess packaging. Good for the environment and no hassles for Dad. AMEN.

12. P-nut Bombs

aj bombers p-nut bomber

AJ Bombers gives away free peanuts as a lagniappe. What I went nuts for though was the delivery mechanism. An actual bomber overhead on rails. It needs to be seen to be believed. Here’s a link to a video that showcases the P-nut bomber.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here’s a cute example from Rebecca Minkoff:

Rebecca Minkoff is a designer that’s famous for handbags, specifically her MAC’s or “morning after” clutches. As a signature extra, Rebecca slips a business card with a phone number into each bag. Try the number on the card and say “hello” or “bon jour” to Vincent.


How do you stand out in the sea of sameness? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth? Are you Giving Little Unexpected Extras?

What’s Your GLUE? What’s Your Purple Goldfish?

Download the FREE eBook here

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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