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Online apparel retailer VANCL launched in 2007; by the end of 2009, it had 800 employees and annual revenues of RMB 2.4 billion. Ranked the fastest-growing tech company in China after expanding by 29,756% in its first three years, VANCL’s 2012 revenues are forecast at some RMB 18 billion.
Clearly it was time for the firm to solidify its brand, hence a series of billboards that started appearing in Chinese cities in May, featuring cultural celebrities wearing VANCL shirts against a backdrop of statements in a simple “I am… I am not… I like… I am still…” syntax. The campaign became an instant viral hit, exacerbated by a July contest on the socialnetworking site Douban which generated more than 3,000 photoshopped, user-generated parodies targeting everything from movie stars to foodstuffs in what has since come to be known as fanke ti or “VANCLese.” Here are some of the best examples of the parodic craze’s jibes at the arts-and-culture world.