In A Culture Of Infinite Choice, Surprise Is A Distinct Asset

Walk through your grocery store and try to count the amount of cereals. Or soft drinks. Or soup flavors. Go to your shopping mall and you’ll find not just a Foot Locker, but a Lady Foot Locker as well. It’s next to the Relax the Back store.  We rarely think about the privileges and rewards of rampant capitalism but chief among them is choice. At times, all that choice can actually become paralyzing because for some, infinite options encourage ongoing perusal rather than selection.

All of this came roaring to mind when I tripped over the work of Trixie Delicious, a New Zealand vendor who posts her wares on Etsy.  Ms. Delicious creates a unique, distinctly post-modern kind of pop art, taking vintage china and tweaking it by over printing outrageous commentary atop the classic flowers and filigree. Her simple work thrives on the startling juxtaposition of the sweet and safe with the baldly profane. It startles. It surprises. It made me laugh outright at least twice.

Dennis Ryan, Chicago Advertising, Element 79

We live in an age of mash-ups. Music, art, movies, fashion–with the sheer volume of archived creativity, a huge amount of new ideas comes from combining dissonant visions in outrageous ways.  Thirty years ago, we would have lacked the common cultural references to get the irony, but now that Google averages over two billion searches every day, knowledge is cheaper than ever.

And so, due to its increasing rarity and transience, surprise has become far more valuable.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


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