The Band and its surprises

by Graziella Carbone

2000 – The Flauti snacks and the Flutes Band gifts
By then, we were at the beginning of 2000 and after five years of absence from the market of promotions, Mulino Bianco started to place new Little Surprises in the snack packs again: the Flauti (flutes) snack gave as a gift the Flutes Band, twelve lovely three-dimensional characters, all collectibles.
That was the first time in the history of Mulino Bianco that Snacks (Flauti in this instance) were turned into characters. We would have to wait for the arrival of the Friends of the Mill in 2005 to see again Snacks – and not only –  being turned into protagonist characters.
In order to make them even more attractive, the Flauti became the elements of a rather special Band. On board of a smiley van, they journeyed to reach the famous Palamusic, where at last they would able to perform in concert.
Here they are: Tillo Ventillo and Saxomatto, who plays a lot; Jimmy Afro and Benny Botto, who is an explosion of sound, Pupilla, who is a screaming singer; Jonbasso and Violly Pop; Maracao fantasticao (the fantastic); Strillina, so lovely, and Bellovox, always the lead singer; Tastierino, who is taking a nap; Bandana Kid, simply the best, on a skateboard.
Their production was very attentive to details, choice of colours and instruments that the Band was to play, and some even had gold colour details.
Bandana Kid was produced in lower numbers with respect to other characters, and it was placed on a transparent skateboard, and therefore had a base that could be detached from the toy character (the wheels were not movable).
Several materials were made to go along with the Flutes Band gadgets, like a ruler and a wrist watch that had the characters printed on the strap. Television commercial spots and printed press campaigns featured a slogan, “Mulino Bianco Flauti, a completely different music at snack time!”,  that supported the launch of the promotion. For the first time, this even had its own website – (today it is no longer an active site).

2001 – The explosion of a craze… Giocalitutti – Playthemall
With this phrase printed on 29.500.000 (yes, twenty nine million five hundred thousand) trays of Tegolino, Trancino, Flauti, Saccottino and Crostatina snacks – and an equal number of Little Surprises – the 2001 promotion took off (from August 20 to October 13): Giocalitutti, literally, Playthemall.
This is a collection of fun games, some new and others classic games, to carry along at all times or to exchange with friends.
The games, a total of 19 (including a few reissues of old ones), were packed in small transparent and fluorescent boxes made in many fanciful colours, that were the natural evolution of the little matchboxes and the book boxes of Book Mania… The dimensions had to keep into account the margins of work of the product packing machines, and were practically the same as before.
Among the various games we remember:

  • Game of the four  a perfect reworking of a largely successful famous game;
  • Bowling Game miniature reworking of the game of bowling, complete with an iron ball;
  • Lanciomatto Game a perfect miniature pitcher complete with two discs for thrilling competitions;
  • Il Mercante in Fiera (Merchant at the Fair) made with the treasure consisting of chips of different colours and two decks of cards, one of which printed on holographic background cardboard.

There also were Little Surprises packed in cylindrical shape containers, small but real transparent cans:
Flea Jumping game an extremely colourful game made with pawns and pitchers in bright colours and with a board base made of cardboard printed in holographic effects;

  • Pocket Chess Game complete with every chess figurine and with a cardboard chessboard;
  • Milleforme (thousand shapes) to invent all kinds of shapes by joining the coloured segments while unleashing one’s imagination;
  • Domino strategy game composed by 28 tiny dominoes.
    Some games were packaged in boxes and also in cans.

There were also special Playthemall surprises: Super Playthemall inserted in double packages of Flauti and Tegolino, that were of larger dimensions and of higher value, both perceived and real.
These were four really complex games of about 11X6 centimeters to play alone or with friends, and all had boxes equipped with a lid, so that they could be easily put in one’s pocket of in a backpack, and also featured a hook to be attached to a belt.
They were the Scopricodice (disceover the code) game for two players taking turns in trying to discover their opponent’s secret code; the Pocket Basket game to play engaging matches for two players, who had to score the highest number of points in ten tries; the Flipper game, to play with a real miniature flipper, with featured real metal balls; and Naval Battle, a game composed of two boxes containing ships and place markers for two player to hold a real challenging tournament.
Like standard Surprises, all Super Surprises were equipped with a nice leaflet that explained the rules of a single game.