- 2012 : Bachelor of Communication Arts, 1st Class Honours, Gold Medal Award, Chulalongkorn University.
- 2013 : Master of MSc Management, Imperial College Business School, UK
Career and Key Positions
- 2014 - 2016 : Business Development Director of Banlue Group
- 2016 - present : Executive Director of Banlue Group
Laughter a tonic for digital success
Despite the drastic decline in print media consumption, 31-year-old executive Pimpicha Utsahajit has managed to enlarge the Kai Hua Ror cartoon universe from paper to various online platforms. This becomes a great opportunity in expanding reader bases during the digital era.
Pimpicha is the second generation of Banlue Publications, which has run Thailand's iconic comic Kai Hua Ror (Laughter For Sale) for five decades, and her talents prove that the apple doesn’t fall far from a tree.
“My parents never put pressure on me to inherit our business. They gave me and my siblings the freedom to think and do what we want. In the past, my teachers often praised me for my writing. I'm not sure if it's passion or talent that brings me to this point,” she said.
Her family business began in 1973 when her father used film-style storytelling techniques to create three-panel gag cartoons in illustrating Thai lifestyles in hilarious and positive perspectives, making it a source of inspiration for people of all ages.
“If paracetamol is a common drug that every household should have in their cabinet, Kai Hua Ror seems like household humour. It’s an inexpensive humorous comic, so everyone can afford and share the moments together,” Pimpicha said.
“Our mission is that we’ll be with fans everywhere. Our characters are now available in several forms, ranging from animation, sitcom, mascots at running events, at workshop exhibitions and Line stickers. Now, we’re also programming to connect Kai Hua Ror with young consumers.”
Pimpicha spent most of her childhood in the publishing house and enhanced her literacy skills with Kai Hua Ror comics. Her talent shone bright in school essay contests before becoming a communication arts student at Chulalongkorn University.
During semester breaks, she gained experiences and learnt how to produce interesting content at several leading media companies such as the Bangkok Post, A Day Bulletin and Thai PBS. Then, she went on to Imperial College Business School in London and studied business management. On her return to hometown, she has used marketing skills to upgrade Kai Hua Ror as a brand, home to a big family of cheerful cartoon characters.
“I grew up in my parents' office. They taught me to develop creative concepts and gave me the chance to draw gags in the special editions. I’ve observed every process of making print media since I was young. I had fun creating content but one day I thought that I should learn how to manage it too.”
In recent years, she has joined forces with educational institutions to design creative school programmes and media with an aim to raise awareness of environmental conservation, hygiene and health.
At the same time, she has developed content to link all the cartoon characters with current situations, politics and marital relationships. For instance, the Game Of Thai edition parodied campaigns that political parties ran to draw people during last year's election.
“Trends come and go. So three important actions to help us adapt our business quickly is to plan, do and check. The digital disruption has impacted print media. Newspapers are short-lived and rely on credibility while online content is fast-paced and consumers are spoiled for options,” she said.
“We aren’t competing with others but only ourselves. Our gags are classic, so customers can keep and read them anytime. Content is designed to be entertaining for people of all ages. We also created the Kai Hua Ror page on Facebook to crack gags about current situations. It seems like a community where fans can share their ideas and interact together.”
This month, Kai Hua Ror collaborates Baan Lae Suan magazine to come up with the special edition of Baan Lae Sruan (Home and Laughter), using cartoon characters to share ideas and useful tips on how to decorate a living room, improving landscapes and designing a house for retired couples.
“In recent years, we can see a form of collective marketing in many businesses. The collaboration between Kai Hua Ror and Baan Lae Suan is to share content and specialities. The Kai Hua Ror universe is based on four pillars - power of drawing, storytelling, creativity and a sense of humour,” she said.
“Now, several organizations have used amusing cartoon characters in communicating because they are playful and easy to access, perfect for Thais. Our brand has expanded to edutainment, creative economy and content marketing because we've specialized in storytelling in a fun style.”
Apart from Kai Hua Ror, Banlue Publications has also operated news website The Matter and two other publishing houses Banlue Books and Salmon Books to serve a range of inspiring books and pocket books with fresh and easy-to-digest content.