Shisan Wu

Like a typhoon descending onto the international waters of the South China Sea, the People’s Republic of China’s recent ukulele-heavy, English language video-advertorial piece on the country’s Five Year Plan was released via the Twitter site of its primary propaganda mouthpiece, Xinhua News.

As annoying as any propaganda piece is for any democracy-loving Australian, I couldn’t help but continue humming the melody long after watching the ad. It affected me so much so that I decided to turn on my word processor to type this wee analysis of what makes this video so virally appealing?

Entertaining

First of all, the video is hugely entertaining, in spite of what the content is about. The producer and song-writer need to win respective awards for this.

Informative

Yes, I know it is propaganda, but it is about China after all. I was automatically drawn to what it might reveal – it turns out nothing – but still I stayed and watched the whole thing.

Visually appealing

The graphic designers should also be rewarded for their creativity. I mean, a robot wearing a turd as a hat? Brilliant!

 Understands their Audience

The video obviously aims at a younger audience. I can’t help but to think this was produced by a team of young, western-educated creatives, who understand their own market segment (and have cashed in their democratic chutzpah). The most revealing of all was the moment where one of the singers pokes fun at the Chinese bureaucracy. Surely, this would never happen if it were done by Chinese (or maybe the news agency missed the sarcasm?)

It sticks

The combination of smart, repetitive lyrics, an upbeat chorus and modern, psychedelic graphics tells a story that has, to this point, stuck in my mind at least.

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