The Electronic Restaurant Placemat


When I was a little boy, I couldn’t wait to go to Dutchland Dairy, a diner-style family restaurant on the south side of Milwaukee.

Not just because I craved a What-A-Burger. But they had the best paper placements in the world with word scrambles, puzzles and mazes, like “Help Jonah Find the Fastest Route Out of the Whale.”

The California Milk Processor Board—yep, the “Got Milk?” people—must share this childhood infatuation. Because its new website feels a lot like an electronic version of those placemats. (Only you can’t flip it upside down to find the answers.)

I’m not quite sure who has the time to help Miss Dowdy beautify herself. But if I were a little kid again, I know I’d love to help Mr. Osseous (an industrious goat) headbutt some cartons.

I gotta’ believe that the novelty of “edutainment” sites like this is wearing off fast. But for now, it still feels fresh, especially for children born into the broadband era—not before it.

So kudos to the milk folks and the creatives at Goodby, Sliverstein. If only they could bring back the What-A-Burger, too. (Just don’t tell the cows.)