One of those incredibly lazy phrases that usually signal a complete failure of imagination in the author or copywriter or whoever it is who has despairingly fallen back on it. Nothing could make it more obvious that the writer is on autopilot, because in any context in which that phrase is used, the intended implication is that it's not in spite of at all. So it's just fundamentally dishonest, really: it's said when it's not meant, and it's an unnecessary encumbrance which reduces clarity and vividness, typifying instead uninspired cliché which is likely to run through either the rest of the writing or the thing being described. The other reason it's really fucking annoying is the ridiculous implication that half way through writing this sentence our man with the quill has just had a startling new idea: that perhaps his preconceptions were wrong and this whole crazy world is being turned on its head.

To give an example. Let's say we have a TV series about a hard-boiled cop on the mean streets of, I don't know, L.A., or whereever; odds are that the TV guide will tell us that

in spite (or perhaps because of) his maverick style and left-field methods, he always gets his man.

It's perfectly obvious to anyone with either intelligence or a reasonable knowledge of American cop shows that really, his maverick style and left-field methods are the main reason he does so well. They're an integral part of his personality, and without them he'd just be another plodding John Q Policeman. Further examples will be found all over the place. Popular eccentrics are popular in spite (or perhaps because) of their eccentricity; brave victims are brave in spite (or perhaps because) of the adversity they've contended with; atonal music sounds great in spite (or perhaps because) of its atonality. It's disingenuous and it's lazy and I've had enough of it, people! So let's do what we can to make it stop. Let the war against cliché begin!