BL Agro launches Bail Kolhu comics for children

Reviving the habit of reading physical comics

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BL Agro launches Bail Kolhu comics for children
BL Agro launches Bail Kolhu comics for children Photo BL Agro

On  7 October 2022, in a bid to encourage the habit of reading P among children and cut down on screen time, Bail Kolhu — the flagship brand of BL Agro, one of India’s leading FMCG companies, launched a unique series of comic books called Bail Kolhu Comics, in Hindi and English. These feature stories capturing acts of kindness to develop the spirit of generosity in young readers. Bail Kolhu comics are conceptualized and published by Leads Brand Connect, under the campaign #ComicPadhnaCoolHai, which is launched across print media, radio and social media.

Bail Kolhu Comic
Bail Kolhu Comic

Bail Kolhu has announced that the first two issues will be distributed free of cost and delivered pan-India using the Indian Postal Service, to those who subscribe on the company’s website www.bailkolhu.com. The brand will make physical copies available at its co-branded railway platform No. 16 of New Delhi Railway Station, renamed as Bail Kolhu Platform no. 16. The comics will also be available at Diwali melas across prominent cities of Uttar Pradesh. The brand will also be entering into strategic tie-ups with schools to drive distribution across the country.

Through the innovative medium of graphic storytelling, the deeply-trusted household brand Bail Kolhu is celebrating a marquee moment in the history of comics and advertising, and is furthering its commitment to nourishing both the physical and cognitive aspects of their health.

With technology being a key avenue for education and entertainment alike, children are spending hours on end staring into the screens, whether its smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets or televisions.  Research suggests that screen time shot up during the pandemic for children, especially those between six and ten, by an extra 80+ minutes a day on average. This poses challenges for parents, and it is felt that the physical and mental health of children is also imperiled by excessive screen time.

Moreover, research also suggests that reading printed books leads to greater retention and learning with less distractions, that reading on a screen. The Indian Academy of Pediatrics recommends that screen time for children between the ages of 2 and 5 should not exceed one hour. For older children and adolescents, screen time is counted as ‘excessive’ if it displaces activities required for overall development including physical activity (play time), adequate duration of sleep, and time for schoolwork, meals, hobbies, and family. Parents and child experts have also concern about the addictive nature of online gaming.

 

Commenting on the launch of the comic books, Ghanshyam Khandelwal, Chairman, BL Agro, said, “For many decades now, Bail Kolhu brand has nourished the health of families with its promise of pure quality products. Reading for pleasure is a joyful activity for both mental and physical health, across age groups. However, with the pandemic-induced school closures, all activities including reading became virtual. With the Superhero Bail Kolhu comics, we are inspiring children to find joy in reading and telling them that #ComicPadhnaCoolHai. ”

Richa Khandelwal, managing director, Leads Brand Connect, the agency behind conceptualizing and publishing the comics, said, “Those who grew up ‘screen-free’ will remember the charm of reading and exchanging comic books, and the eager wait of a new issue. By utilizing storytelling in the graphic format, it’s easier to capture the attention of children. Moreover, having a physical copy to read can provide a much-needed break from gadgets. Through this unique initiative, we endeavor to rekindle the interest of children to read comics. Children will love the Superhero comics, and learn important values in a fun and easy way.”

“We are very aggressive in taking this social initiative forward through rigorous advertising in the print media, radio and social media in the first go of the launch. Going forward, the campaign will be visible in the magazines and heard on the podcast and audio books”, adds Richa.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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