• Disney to field 'food family' mascot for Expo 2015

Disney to field 'food family' mascot for Expo 2015

Commissioner says mascots underscore event's values

(ANSA) - Milan, December 16 - A mascot designed by Disney Italy for the Milan Expo 2015 representing 11 different foods was presented to children's applause on Sunday. Garlic, watermelon, orange, banana, fig, blue corn, mango, apple, pomegranate, pear, and radish - with their personalities and happy, friendly faces combined in a smiling Arcimboldo-like figure - will be used to convey the World Expo's theme: 'Feed the Planet, Energy for Life'. Children can take part in a competition to name the characters officially launched during the presentation that is active online at the Expo's website. Expo 2015 Commissioner Giuseppe Sala said that the Disney mascots are "faithful to the spirit of the event and its values, such as collaboration, family, and diversity". Entries for the contest to come up with a name can be submitted until January 7, Sala said, and "therefore we expect to announce the winners in the second half of February". As concerns the merchandising, which Disney Italy has been tasked with, "the merchandising connected with the characters, such as clothing, school supplies and stationery, cups, stuffed animals and food products, will be available for the 2014 Christmas season," he added. Merchandise is expected to bring in some 150 million euros in sales, organizers said at the press conference, of which the Expo will receive between five and 10 million. The Expo mascots may also feature in a cartoon or a short film. Disney Italy Director Roberto Santillo said that while "the theme of diversity is the first that the mascots must represent, the value of teamwork also inspired us due to its usefulness in making dreams come true". Disney is "honored to have the chance to contribute to the discussion on such an important issue as food," he added.