Self branding in black satire


In Chapter 13 of Managing Media Work, Alisa Perren talked about “personal branding” and marketing of identity. In the recent news Where an Internet Joke Is Not Just a Joke from New York Times, I found the name of Pi San, a famous Chinese cartoon director. He is famous for his cartoon satire series of “Kuang Kuang Kuang”, as well as the lucrative cartoon series of “Miss Puff”, which has been viewed more than 220,000 times in its first week and was viewed more than 5 million times in total.

Miss Puff is the most ambitious web serial for Youku, China’s leading Internet television company. In the opposite, very few people know the existence of “Kuang Kuang Kuang”, because it was deleted by the authority of the website shortly after it was launched.  “Rabbit babies drink Chinese milk, laced with melamine. It doesn’t exactly benefit their health. Rabbit houses are forcibly demolished to make way for economic progress. The ruling tigers are promoting a harmonious society, just like president Hu Jintao does. When a fire breaks out, the rabbits are told to stay put while their leaders get out first. “–This is the scripts from his cartoon of “Little Rabbit, Be Good”, which aims to poke fun of the government.

“With some animations, I make money. With others, I just make fun.” –said Pi San. Like Alisa Perren said, many people need to find a balance between paying commercial oriented projects and lower-paying “projects of passion”. Pi San creates the mischievous cartoon character Kuang Kuang in one hand, but he earns money by making other animations for commercials.

For me, Pi San found a good way of self-branding. As a web activist, he has a list of portfolio that works against the Chinese government. The censorship in Chinese Internet arouses people’s dissatisfaction, and at the same time, it leads people to think about other ways to express their feelings. In this way, people love to watch the movies or TV series that include dark satires in it and works against the authority. He builds his self-identity as one who dares to challenge the authority, who is brave enough to speak for the common people. After watching his satire cartoons, people would like to buy his other series, though they are commercial-oriented, or has no relationship to politics at all.

-Hongyuan Jiang

Mark Deuze, Managing Media Work. Thousand Oaks, California, United States of America: SAGE Publications  Inc.


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