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Expo Milano introduces an appetizing mascot for 2015; children will have a say in naming characters

MILAN, Dec. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The mascot designed by Disney Italy for the 2015 Expo was welcomed to the stage by the clamorous applause of its young audience at Milan's Franco Parenti Theatre this morning. In fact, not just one mascot, but a whole family composed of 11 different foods. Garlic, watermelon, orange and banana; together with fig, blue corn, mango, apple, pomegranate, pear and radish. Their personalities, with their happy, friendly faces, will come to life to express and interpret the theme of 'Nurture the Planet, Energy for Life'.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131215/NY33565 )

A contest for children to come up with the fruits' names was officially launched during today's presentation, and is active online at www.expo2015.org as well as on Expo Milano 2015 social media platforms, allowing kids to suggest a name to suit every character.

These special ambassadors for the values and messages of Expo Milano 2015, which will be reproduced on different types of merchandising objects and articles, will not only be part of the lead-up to the World Fair until opening day, but will also be the perfect travel companions for the 20 million visitors expected at the event between the 1st of May and 31st of October 2015.

"Disney Italia's choice to represent the 2015 Universal Expo with an entire team of characters was very fortunate and meaningful, from an educational perspective too," commented Giuseppe Sala, Commissioner of the Government of Italy for Expo Milano 2015. "We wanted to focus on underlining the importance of the group and how to value the character traits of each individual within it. That's precisely what Disney Italia focused on. Each 'animated' food will bring an aspect of this Expo's theme to life and will be a representative of good behaviour. This was another reason why we decided that the kids themselves should be the stars of today's presentation. There is no better audience than children for deciding whether a creative proposal will go on to be successful. And we are increasingly convinced that this will be the case."

"We are delighted that Expo Milano 2015 has chosen Disney to create the mascot for the event," added Daniel Frigo, Country Manager and President of The Walt Disney Company Italia. "Leveraging the emblematic message 'Feed the Planet, Energy for Life', allowed us to give free rein to our creativity and story-telling, which are core to Disney's DNA. The idea is based on the creation of a family of fruits, each with different characteristics and personalities as well as different origins and peculiarities. We'll see the fruits interact with humor, intelligence and a touch of the unexpected. When combined, these characters create the "face" of the Expo: a smiling Arcimboldo-like figure in a cartoon version, representing the integration of different people and cultures in our world. Thanks to its creativity and story-telling, Disney has always attracted a universal audience, inspiring positive lifestyles. This is Disney's wish accompanying the launch of the official Expo Milano 2015 mascot."

ABOUT THE EXPO MILANO 2015 MASCOT

The mascot that Disney Italia has created for Expo 2015 represents the main themes of the event, presenting them in a positive, original, and empathetic way that is rich in the art of story-telling.

The idea is based on the creation of a *family of fruits, *each with different characteristics and personalities. When combined, these separate characters create the "face" of the Expo composed of a smiling Arcimboldo-like figure in a cartoon version. The family of fruits, united in a single face, represents the ideal synergy between countries around the world that, also through Expo 2015, are invited to positively address and try to solve the global challenges around food and nutrition, appearing as one dynamic and appealing family.

The originality of the proposal lies in the concept that the mascot can be separated into separate fruit characters that appear in jokes and present stories to the public that start out with their origins and peculiarities. The fruits will interact with humor, intelligence and a touch of the unexpected, but in complete harmony with Expo themes.

The fruits and vegetables composing the mascot are:
Banana, Pomegranate, Watermelon, Apple, Mango, Orange, Pear, Fig, Radish, Blue Corn and Garlic (an outsider because an appealing intruder is a must!)

Why fruit? Fruit was chosen for its important symbolic and metaphoric value that is universally recognized: energy and generosity, results (the fruit of one's work, commitment, collaboration, and friendship), diversity, nutrition, productiveness, sharing and global thinking. What's more, fruit
is a food group that unites all cultures. Fruit appears in fairytales across all civilizations and in the painting of masters, due to its symbolic value. It is served at meals in everyone's home, regardless of their place in society. It's simple and can be shared by children, when they split an orange or climb a tree, which is one of their favorite adventures.

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