Hot Wheels toys in my Banania cornflakes

France. Pif Gadget 869. 1985.

Banania Hot Wheels promotion. France. Pif Gadget 869. 1985.

Of course, In 1985, they didn’t really put die cast toy vehicles inside the boxes of Banania cornflakes (not that it wasn’t uncommon back then to find cool toys inside boxes, but rarely metal toys that would add significant weight to the box). So, no car in my cornflakes? But this was still an excellent opportunity to grab one of 20 sets of 126 vehicles! In addition there were 1000 other prizes to be grabbed. To be in with the chance to win you had to answer a question and then cut-out and send off the slip on the bottom of the advert.

Controversial Banania

The advertising images for Banania featuring the smiling Senegalise soldier – and in particular the slogan “y’ a bon” (Pidgen French: “that’s good”) has come under scrutiny by those accusing the brand of racism or colonialism.

Scan of a reproduction tin plate advert from the 1930s. These reproduction ads are popular throughout France.

Scan of a reproduction Banania tin plate advert from the 1930s. Reproduction ads of this era are popular throughout France. They are easily found in stores, street markets, tourist shops, even finding their way to flea markets as second-hand items.

The slogan, “y’ a bon”, which had been used since 1915, was finally scrapped in 2011 from all subsequent products and advertising. The image of the Senegalise soldier is still used but more in a comic / cartoon style. This change of style can perhaps be first seen in the 1985 Hot Wheels advert at the beginning of the post, with the soldier’s head morphed into the font of the letter ‘B’.

I’ve included below another advert from 1985 to illustrate this –  this time for a He-Man and Masters of the Universe promotion which is pretty much the same as the Hotwheels promo.

Banania He-Man MOTU promotion. France. Pif Gadget. 1985.

Banania money box van. France. 2017. From the collection of TVTA.

Banania in Space

You can see the presence of the “y’ a bon” logo in this 1960 advert from Lissette comic. In this promotion you had to collect 16 points from Banania products then send them off along with 6 postage stamps to receive your space play-set and characters.

France. Lissette N° 46. 1960.

Banania space promotion. France. Lissette N° 46. 1960.

Read more of the history of Banania here:

Official Banania website

Banania Wikipedia (French)

Banania Wikipedia (English)


5 thoughts on “Hot Wheels toys in my Banania cornflakes

  1. A lot of old branding has changed in recent decades due to the ‘politically correct’ movement that polices cultural expression for sexism and racism, etc.. Some of it is reasonable, but some of it is just nitpicking. The smiling Senegalese soldier doesn’t seem that offensive to me – but I’m not French or Senegalese so I’m not familiar with the cultural emotion that is tied to the representation. It just doesn’t appear mean spirited or disrespectful as a lot of blatant racism can. In the States we have Aunt Jemima syrup and her image has evolved over the years – I’ve always seen her image as warm and endearing.

    Anyway, the Banania space play-set looks way cool. It would be so great to be able to get neat free stuff like this today just by collecting points from products one uses everyday. There’s points programs for stuffs like Coke, but the bonus products are mostly boring and easy to find otherwise and the really good things have such high point numbers that it would take forever to save enough anyway – unless you drink ten bottles of Coke a day, for example.


    • Good points. It will always be a charged issue I think. Similar concerns have been made (for and against) with TinTin, Rupert Bear and Enid Blyton’s Noddy stories that feature colonial-era African natives and ‘golliwog’ characters. Robertson’s food products of the UK had used the golliwog character on its products since 1910 and ceased use in 2001.

      Regarding product points: here in France we’ve noticed more of a switch to ‘codes’ inside products that you collect and enter online to claim prizes. Kellogs and St Mamet are two companies currently doing this. There are a fair few products including FREE stickers and fridge magnets too. I’m stubbornly keeping hold of the memory that every single product my mum bought when I was a kid contained a FREE toy or sticker 🙂


      • Yes, that’s more accurate – points. Sounds like you folks in France are getting kind of neat stuffs. I keep seeing things like mp3s, video games, etc. I think part of the fun of premiums were the rare stuffs one could collect.

        Yeah, good memories of good times, who can blame you for tightly holding on to them. 🙂


      • Yes, some of the promotions in France are quite good really. I think it’s also good if the packaging can be used in some way too – like I remember some of the UK cereal boxes back in the late 70s and early 80s would not only contain a toy but could also have an additional cut-out figure or diorama from the rear of the pack. Knights and horses spring to mind. Or the Star Wars cut-out masks on the backs of Kellog’s C-3POs which were released in the US and Canada. Puzzles and quizzes were also a popular thing to stick on the back 🙂


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