Moo. Mauve. Moo.


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I’m just back from vacation visiting family in my native Wisconsin (where I’d spent a few growing-up childhood years on a dairy farm). While vacationing I noticed, yet again, something I didn’t notice. I did not see a purple cow.

Many of you are familiar with the verse from humorist Gelett Burgess written more than a century ago (published in 1895, to be precise):

I never saw a purple cow;
I never hope to see one;
but I can tell you anyhow;
I’d rather see than be one!

Well, the marketers of the world aren’t quite as averse to bovine purpledom as Burgess was, as evidenced by Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. Godin apparently would rather be than see one.

Burgess and Godin come to mind because of progressive rewards-program redemption options from American Express’s Membership Rewards and from Citi’s ThankYou Network. Yes, a purple cow is among the rewards—in the case of Membership Rewards, a virtual cow that you can use in Facebook’s social game, FarmVille. I talk a bit about virtual goods in my article “Game On!” in the most recent issue of COLLOQUY. The interest in virtual goods is unreal–both literally and figuratively–and these programs are getting in on the interest.

Offering virtual goods as redemption options presents various advantages. For one, it offers an easily achieved redemption (not many points needed to begin the engagement). And it’s trendy, eye-opening, promotable (shall we say, “remarkable”–in that each program offers items exclusive to that program, like Citi’s pink deer), and–most important–audience-responsive. A tip of the cap (and not a tip of the cow–that’s an entirely different Wisconsin story) to Membership Rewards and ThankYou Network.

How now, purple cow?

Bill Brohaugh
As managing editor, Bill Brohaugh is responsible for the day-to-day management and editorial for the COLLOQUY magazine and, the most comprehensive loyalty marketing web site in the world. In addition to writing many of the feature articles, Bill develops the editorial calendar, hires and manages outside writers and researchers and oversees print and online production. He also contributes to COLLOQUY's weekly email Market Alert and the COLLOQUYTalk series of white papers.


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