In an interesting twist that comingles marketing with story times, Irish children’s book writer Emer Conlon created a new book based on the product portfolio of Combilift. The book, “The Forklift Trucks and Their Secret Superpowers,” launched on November 24, highlighting the Monaghan, Ireland-based company’s material handling equipment. The concept for embedding adult-aimed promotional messages into pre-K literature was the brainchild of Conlon, who’s known for her Vroom-Town series of books featuring anthropomorphic vehicles.

“I approached Combilift just over a year ago, with a view to proposing a novel, unique way to communicate with existing and potential customers, as well as being involved in the education of the next generation,” Conlon said in a press release about the new book. “The idea was to write a children’s book which ‘cartoon-izes’ the main Combilift products and transforms them into characters that children will love. I wanted to also use it as a marketing tool for the adults and so I used the USPs of the actual forklifts and turned them into the superpowers of the characters! That way both adults and children would get something from the book.”

The book takes on the topics of overcoming difficulties, the importance of friendship and that bullying is unacceptable. The moral, ultimately, is that no matter what someone looks like or what shape or size they are, it is important to be accepting of others and of differences. The hero, of course, is always a Combilift truck who ‘saves the day.’

“Martin McVicar, CEO and co-founder, really liked the idea – especially the educational aspect for children and as a result of his astuteness, we proceeded with the book and CombiKids was created. So Combilift, is ‘Lifting Innovation’ and now CombiKids is ‘Lifting Imaginations,’” Conlon explained, adding that “It was important to achieve a balance between Combilift branding and creating a story featuring endearing characters that children would fall in love with.” She also noted that the book “has a couple of ‘baddies’” but that those trucks thrust into villainous roles are not Combilift trucks.

McVicar was very much on board with the project.

Robert Moffett (Technical Director Combilift), Martin McVicar (CEO & Co Founder Combilift) & Emer Conlon (Author) with future CombiKids readers and a Combilift forklift.

“We believe it was very important to be involved with the education of the next generation and to that end, we already have a number of programs including, apprenticeships, tours, etc. However, our new CombiKids initiative will involve even younger children with Combilift. The idea is that little ones, would ‘buy into’ the Combilift brand when they are young by creating an association with it – thus encouraging future engineers and lots of other budding talent, as well as motivating children to read. It is a great way to highlight Combilift to a wider community that may not be overly familiar with it,” he said.

Combilift, which employs 600 people at its company headquarters and has customers in more than 85 countries, is a member of Guaranteed Irish, a non-profit organization representing indigenous and international businesses in Ireland since 1974. The CombiKids book is an extension of this patriotism, company officials suggest. Supporting local businesses and the importance of Irish jobs—particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic—is incredibly important to the ethos of Combilift, they add. As such, the book is printed by Winters Print, in Drogheda, Ireland, illustrated by Jon McCormack, from Kildare and typeset by idesignworx, in Monaghan. The company will donate all proceeds from book sales to the Make a Wish foundation.

1 Comment

  1. How can I obtain a copy of this childrens book. My Dad was a Forklift operator and would love this book to give to my Grandson so he knows what his Great Grandpa did for a living

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