If you read Language Log or the American Dialect Society mailing list, you have probably come across discussion of snowclones that narrows the definition in a way that I don’t do here.
Arnold Zwicky refers [PDF] to this sort of usage as “playful allusion”, and phrases may be playful allusions on the way to becoming snowclones by the narrow definition.
The cliché templates known … as snowclones … have two-part histories, a first phase in which a fixed model gains currency, a second in which variations are played on the model, sometimes leading to a second fixing, a crystallization of these playful allusions into a snowclone.
In the first phase, an idea is expressed in various ways: “what one person likes, another person detests”, “things that please some people repel others”, etc. All of these are understood literally, require no special knowledge to understand, and can be created on the spot. Eventually, one particular formulation becomes conventional, in a cliché, striking quotation, proverb or saying, catchphrase, slogan, or memorable name or title: “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”
I tend to overlook this distinction when documenting snowclones here, because I like playing with *all* the phrases, and I think from a lay standpoint the distinction is not always clear. I do want to call attention to this fact, however, and I encourage you to remind me that a phrase I document here may not be a snowclone by the narrow definition.