What do Tombstone frozen pizzas, the Postal Service’s Zip+4 campaign, killer search engine Google, and Starbucks have in common?

According to SETH GODIN, bestselling author of Permission Marketing, all are purple cows — products or services that have something remarkable built into them, as opposed to average products made to seem remarkable through advertising.

Godin’s premise for Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable (Portfolio) stems from an epiphany he had while driving through France, gazing at field after field of cows. Pretty at first, but after a hundred or two, boring and — Godin’s most damning adjective — “invisible.” A purple cow would have been a standout sight indeed.

For decades, Godin argues, companies could sell blah products via “the television-industrial complex,” but that doesn’t work anymore. Too many pitches, too little time. To avoid invisibility, companies must put the purple cow in the marketer’s sacred herd of P words, along with product, pricing, and promotion. And the big money spent on TV ads should go to creative engineering and product design.

Take Godin and Purple Cow. He printed 10,000 paperback copies packaged in eye-catching purple milk cartons. Alerting early adopters through his Web site (www.sethgodin.com), he sold the whole run in 19 days. How now, clever cow.