Babar, the famous elephant star of children’s books and animated TV, is set to educate French children about the environment. Nelvana, which handles consumer products based on the property, has signed a deal with the Ministry of Ecology and Durable Development in France to help spread the word about the importance of ecology by using a character beloved by kids around the world.
Each year during the summer holidays, the Ministry issues a guide that informs school children of ways they can help preserve the environment. Babar, who celebrates his 75th anniversary this year, will be the mascot for the 2006 guide, entitled Babar P’tit Ecolo. Illustrated in watercolor, Babar and his family show children how each individual can impact the environment every day by doing simple things like turning off lights, conserving water, composting and properly disposing of garbage.
‘Over the course of his worldwide adventures, Babar gained firsthand knowledge of the fragile balance between the kingdoms of man and animal and the need to preserve both,’ says Marie-Laure Marchand, VP of European merchandising and marketing for Nelvana. ‘We are proud that this emblematic character has been chosen to help further a cause he has championed for the better part of 75 years.’
500,000 copies of the guide featuring Babar will printed in vegetable ink on recycled paper and distributed via tollbooths on the Paris-Rhine-Rhone motorways and through French broadcaster Tiji’s summer events.
To date, more than 10 million Babar books have been fold in France alone. Other Babar anniversary activities will include the June launch of a Babar-branded postage stamp and meet-and-greet school appearances.