Surprises are fun. They are even more fun when there is a sense of anticipation.
"I've got a surprise for you!"
"Oh what is it?"
"You'll have to wait and see."
"Wait until when?'
"About 54 days or so."
And over the next 54 days the sense of anticipation lingers: What is it? How much did it cost? I wonder if it is x y or z.
This kind of surprise presupposes something — a knowledge of the person to whom you are giving the surprise; so that you might give them something they really want, but hadn't asked for. Or, knowing that there was something that they really wanted.
To surprise someone you don't know is much more difficult.
What a strange thing that in 54 days, 11 hours, 10 minutes and at the time of writing 29 seconds, Belfast is getting a surprise.
You can read about the back story here in this great post by Alan Meban.
Stickers and posters plastered all around Belfast's Cathedral Quarter — elusive and enigmatic, and a little outdated; the type of thing I would see a lot of in London in the early 2000's.
Vandalism? Well, yes, I guess so. But eventually the stickers will fall off and go (if they are not picked off first). Damaging property? Well, possibly, temporarily, yes. But no long term damage really.
What, I think, has really got people taking about this (and not in the way that the marketeers would have wanted), is that this marketing campaign, by a London based firm, presupposes something (that's how surprises like this work right?).
It presupposes that they and their client have a knowledge about the place that they are surprising. Or, they think they know that there is, unbeknown to us, something that we really want.
This is what perturbs me most.
A marketing campaign like this is presumptuous — don't surprise us with something that we never wanted anyway. Why not just ask us what it is we want.
This is how late capitalism works. It creates desires that you never knew you had, probably because you didn't, and then sells them back to you at a premium, with built in obsolescence.
We will wait and see ...