Surprises to build

by Graziella Carbone

2006 – Second Trimester – the Flute-cards: communication, games and sharing
We were in 2006. Summer was coming and we needed a promotion that made the Friends of the Mill Milk, Ciock and Al even more known. An already successful idea was thus reprised and a new collection of Cards was created: the Flute-cards.
These were cards made of cardboard with rounded corners, which feature the three Friends of the Mill on the front. Depending on the main character, the colours they belong to were shown in turn: red for Ciock, the sportsman, green for Al, the nature lover, blue for Milk, the inventor. On the back there were a series of specially designed games, riddles and tests in line with the characteristics of the Friends of the Mill.
But they were not cards like the others: these were a patented product, created exclusively for this campaign – they featured applied tattoos, all different from each other, with an innovative removable glue system.
A complete promotional product: communication of the characters (with card numbering to entice you to collect all thirty of them), games (therefore intended to circulate among friends) and an entire page of tattoos to keep having fun.
Produced in more than five million copies, these cards made sure that the tattoos of Milk, Ciock and Al circulated on all the beaches of Italy and not only thanks to children, but also to many mothers …
The operation was completed by a series of games on the trays with the Friends of the Mill as protagonists. The Game Trays were modular, so that it was possible to switch – if in possession of several boards – from one game to another.

2006 – Third Trimester the Create-and-Color of the Friends of the Mill
At the end of the summer (and of tattoos), here came, as a Back to School operation, a promotion characterized by a particular features: tray and surprise were inserted in the packs of Flutes were to be complementary parts. We called this: The Create-and-Colour of the Friends of the Mill.
We then studied and designed a series of objects to build, six in total. Part of the gadget, pencils, colors, plastic parts, was included in the package with the assembly instructions (in a box), while the cardboard part that would make the object functional had to be cut from the tray.
Thus the Big Pencil, the Palette, the Ruler compass, the Notepad with rings and different stencils for each of the three characters were created.
Each object in this series was a true work of engineering. The functionality of the object depended on the precision of the realization and therefore every detail had to be perfect.
The Big Pencil was designed with a “body” of printed cardboard that had to wrap the pencil and the triangular plastic support; the cardboard palette-protractor was completed by pads of watercolour colours (referring to one of the three characters); the notepads with plastic rings were enriched by a rigid plastic stencil with the subject of Milk, Ciock and Al. From the trays, useful school cards were obtained, such as multiplication tables, geometric and colour composition tables.
And to complete the series, there was a compass-ruler. And since there was space on one side of the tray left over, I also put a bookmark on it.
The nice thing was that these objects really worked and the children, helped by an adult, could build them step by step, having a lot of fun (many dads wrote complimenting the initiative).
The in-store operation offered a shoulder bag, a play mat and a slate. The play mat had a spinning die that indicated how many steps and on what colour to move. It was a very nice game. I had a lot of fun complicating the rules of the game … but the children (and not just the children) had a lot of fun challenging their friends. The blackboard (this gadget was patented as well) had the central part printed with a special black ink that allowed you to write and erase with the white chalk – supplied – just like on the school blackboard. Complete with double-sided tape, it could be glued to any surface.