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Free Prize Inside: How to Make a Purple Cow Paperback – April 24, 2007

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Editorial Reviews Review

According to marketing maven and Purple Cow author Seth Godin, the "Television Industrial Complex"--and its nasty habit of interrupting people with advertisements for things they don't want--is dead. Innovation is cheaper than advertising, advises Godin who defines the "free prize" with diverse examples including swatch watches, frequent flyer miles, dog bakeries, Tupperware parties and portable shredding trucks. He explains "Design matters, style matters, extras matter."

The largest portion of the book is devoted to how to sell an idea to your organization. His specific tactics range from irreverent, (let them pee on your ideas) to practical (how to build a prototype). One standout chapter explains how brainstorming can become boring. His alternative, "edgecraft," involves divergent thinking to add something remarkable to your product. His long grocery list of edges (safety, equality, invisibility, and hours of operation) suggest a genuine marketing manifesto. The ideas are bold and insightful, but can suffer from being presented in less than logical order. The book is also diminished by Godin's self-marketing, from using terminology in his previous books to naming key ideas after himself. These advertisements are unnecessary. This nervy little volume is bound to mother many inventions. --Barbara Mackoff --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A slapdash mix of insight, jargon, common sense, inspiration and hooey, Godin’s follow up to last year’s Purple Cow argues that the way to make any product a bestseller is to couple it with "a feature that the consumer might be attracted to" whether or not she really needs it or wants it. "If it satisfies consumers and gets them to tell other people what you want them to tell other people, it’s not a gimmick," he argues. "It’s a soft innovation." An entrepreneur, lecturer and monthly columnist for Fast Company, Godin knows his business history, and his book bursts with interesting case studies that define "free prize" thinking: e.g. Apple’s iPod, Chef Boyardee’s prehistoric pasta, AOL’s free installation CDs. One of the problems with the book, however, is that its insistent use of needless jargon ("free prize," "purple cow," "edgecraft") clouds complicated issues and lumps dissimilar processes together. "Fix what’s broken," Godin advocates on one page. "Inflame the passionate," he declares on another. Both of these ideas could certainly lead to business improvements, but they hardly use the same methods. Like Godin’s last book, this volume reads like a sugar rush—fast and sweet—and this may propel the author back onto the bestseller lists. To help jumpstart his sales, Portfolio will be packaging the first few thousand copies of the book inside cereal boxes. Now that’s quite a gimmick—er, soft innovation.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio; Reprint edition (April 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841674
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841678
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Seth Godin is the author of eighteen international bestsellers that have been translated into over 35 languages, and have changed the way people think about marketing and work. For a long time, Unleashing the Ideavirus was the most popular ebook ever published, and Purple Cow is the bestselling marketing book of the decade.

His book, Tribes, was a nationwide bestseller, appearing on the Amazon, New York Times, BusinessWeek and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. It's about the most powerful form of marketing--leadership--and how anyone can now become a leader, creating movements that matter.

His book Linchpin came out in 2008 and was the fastest selling book of his career. Linchpin challenges you to stand up, do work that matters and race to the top instead of the bottom. More than that, though, the book outlines a massive change in our economy, a fundamental shift in what it means to have a job.

Since Linchpin, Godin has published two more books, Poke the Box and We Are All Weird, through his Domino Project. He followed these with The Icarus Deception via Kickstarter, which reached its goal in less than three hours. Joined by Watcha Gonna Do With That Duck and V is for Vulnerable, those books are now widely available. In late 2014, he announced his latest, What To Do When It's Your Turn, sold directly from his website.

In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth was founder and CEO of,. His blog (find it by typing "seth" into Google) is the most popular marketing blog in the world. Before his work as a writer and blogger, Godin was Vice President of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, a job he got after selling them his pioneering 1990s online startup, Yoyodyne.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Marc on July 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm a big fan of Seth Godin. His books Permission Marketing, Unleashing the Idea Virus, Purple Cow, and The Big Red Fez continue impact me on an almost daily basis. One thing I love about Seth is that he persuasively argues that in today's economy thinking on-the-edge is far safer than maintaining the status quo.
In Purple Cow, Seth argued that businesses and nonprofits need to be remarkable in order to survive. Being remarkable means that people will tell their friends about your product or service. Purple Cow was a thought provoking book but was lacking in helping readers implement the ideas. Free Prize Inside takes it the next step and shows us how to market and create remarkable changes in our organizations.
Free Prize Inside is divided into three sections:
* Why You Need a Free Prize
* Selling the Idea
* Creating the Free Prize
A "free prize" is a soft innovation. Seth builds the case for the urgent need of people in all organizations, including nonprofits, to be championing soft innovations. Soft innovations are the "clever, insightful, useful small ideas that just about anyone in an organization can think up." A free prize may seem like a gimmick at first but it actually becomes an essential part of your product or service. We all know what our favorite cereal tastes like, but it becomes irresistible when we see we can get a free prize inside the box. To illustrate his point, Seth is selling the first printing of this book in a special-made cereal box! You can pre-order a copy at
He's convinced that anyone can come up with a free prize inside. The problem comes when we share it with others. Seth says our co-workers or boss, ask three basic questions:
1. Is this idea doable?
2. Is it worth doing?
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Meryl K. Evans on May 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Godin's previous book, Purple Cow, presents examples of how to stand out from the herd. Free Prize Inside shows how to make that happen. It answers questions of "How do you create a Purple Cow?" "How do you make something sell itself?"
When we buy cereal, especially kiddie cereal, what's the best part? The free prizes inside, of course! That's the thinking behind the book.
Free prizes aren't just the stuff you find in cereal or Cracker Jack. Does your credit card offer free airline miles or money towards the next car you buy? That counts. What about an online store offering free shipping? What I remember the most about some tradeshows and expos are the drawings for free prizes, the goodies I received, and the shirts I still have.
This book has impeccable timing. As an editor of a newsletter, I have been struggling to find ideas to pep it up and draw in more subscribers since new subscriptions have slowed down. I cheat and go straight to page 131, the start of the list of "Edges" and look for a spark of creativity to create an "Edgecraft" (book's buzzword) to find a free prize. The goal is to find something to reel people in, to give them something they want like the previously mentioned examples.
I learn from examples and Godin lists plenty of them using Edgecraft in action. He is not saying you have to invent something new to make something happen. It's about taking what you already have going and how to make your product, service, head, blog, whatever worth talking about and watching the results.
With three kids, a spouse, two jobs, a house, and volunteer work, finding time to read a book is a challenge.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Smith on February 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Seth Godin's Free Prize Inside is about creating an innovation and then causing it to happen. His premise is that if you make your service or produce worth talking about (make it "remarkable") the word will spread. This is much more effective than advertising, what he refers to as interruption media. Mr. Godin sprinkles interesting observations throughout the book, like this gem - "Just because you have money doesn't mean you can trade it for attention by buying advertising. Consumers have learned how to ignore you."

He describes items included free with a purchase as a gimmick and uses the example of the prize in a Cracker Jack box. He recommends that companies should focus on unsatisfied customers vs. the satisfied customers because unsatisfied customers are the ones that really want a free prize. Gimmicks can work because we buy what we want - "Do we want the fortune cookie or the fortune?"

Because an organization's adoption of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with whether it's a good idea or not, Mr. Godin emphasizes that selling the idea of a soft innovation (the free prize) is as important as the innovation itself. So he tells you first HOW to sell the idea, then he explains ways to CREATE the free prize. He helps you champion innovations by listing 17 tactics that can be used to sell your idea. For example, he describes how to change the mind of a group of people - have the group see tangible proof that everyone else is changing their mind as well.

To find new ideas, he recommends NOT brainstorming but instead using a process that identifies the soft innovations that live on the edge of what already exists - Edgecraft. In his book, Mr. Godin gives 30 ways to apply Edgecraft with real-world examples for each.
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