Rampantly used across multiple media in a myriad of forms for as many significances, the snowclone is a handy tool that history and culture have together given us. Because of their repeated usage, as with cliches, the snowclone can be used to point to just one exact thing by even offhandedly uttering it. In fashion, claiming that “red is the new white” is a snowclone; in fantastic literature, saying “… and they lived happily ever after” is a snowclone; even in photography, having overhanging branches to jut into the frame from the top while shooting landscapes is a snowclone. They are very useful because they are easily recognized: you don’t have to elaborate on them, people get what they mean, and they make for easy metaphors.

But something about the snowclone is often overlooked. Here’s an image: when something becomes commonplace in your life, aren’t you usually excited by something that goes against it? Such a thing will always pique your interest because, when it’s a good thing, it makes you change your lifestyle for the better, and when it’s a bad thing, you are forced to ignore it. This is what change is composed of. Businessmen, especially marketers and advertisers, employ such tactics because they have conspicuous results and quickly. If you are looking to start something new, look for the snowclones in that industry. If you find one, go against it and you will have your purple cow.

Today, globalization and technology have together ensured that everyone under their umbra of influence knows most of what the others know. In such a scene, not much can change quickly enough to dispel the formation of a need or even an interest. Consider the industry of mobile phones. Considerable privatization in the communications sector, and cheaper export of technology from developed to developing countries, has accelerated the mobile phone revolution – though the industry itself is only a few decades old, the iPhone or even the Nokia X6 would in the 1980s have constituted science fiction. We quickly have too much, which only means that soon there will be calls for the “more” that today still can’t come to integrate with itself. And since, that way, we’ll have put ourselves at the top of the tech tree, the sky will be the limit.

Don’t let the magnitude of things fog your view – to wade through the pea soup, remember that snowclones will always be snowclones. To be effective in such a world, point out to something that has been there for a long time, and then go directly against it. Although it could be surprising that such antediluvian templates inspire the opposite, it is not difficult to see why. That is what change is all about.


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