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History of the Michelin Man

THE MICHELIN MAN

In 125 years, the Michelin Man has become one of the most well-known brand personas in the world, being elected as ""Best logo of the century"" by an international jury in 2000.

A marketing pioneer in his own right, the Michelin Man boasts a certain talent for publicity. Dynamic and jovial, he has moved from a brand ambassador to an emblematic brand icon. Since his creation, he has helped Michelin show people around the world how to achieve better and safer mobility.

1894:

At the International Exhibition in Lyon, The Michelin brothers were looking for an original way of presenting the company’s products. The organiser of the Michelin stand had placed two piles of tyres at the entrance. Edouard Michelin pointed to them and said: “Look at that. Add some arms, and you’d say they were men”.

1898:

André Michelin visited the talented poster artist O’Galop. The artist presented a painting of a little round man made of tyres, holding a mug full of nails and pieces of glass. It was from this little painting that the slogan “Nunc est bibendum” was born, translated from Latin to “The tyre that drinks up obstacles”. 

The Michelin Man was born and quickly became famous through a series of posters, and a presentation during the Paris Motor Show. His jovial and familial attitude still remain in the mind of all who are familiar with the tyre man, known as the “Bibendum”, the brand ambassador of  Michelin.

1910’s-1920’s:

Bibendum assumed the role of the motorist’s guardian angel. Alongside his publicity campaigns in the printed media, the Michelin Man featured, from the outset, as a large-scale presence on carnival floats on public highways and exhibitions stands at motor shows.

1907:

The Michelin Man crossed the Atlantic and set up in the USA. The advertising became more educational as the Michelin Man was depicted as a giant, accompanying and advising travellers by explaining the advantages of his products. This approach became the focus in the 1930’s on all Michelin Man advertorials.

1907 to 1915:

Following the ”Michelin Mondays” campaign that was a fun but educational review format in France, the Italian subsidiary of the group published a monthly publication that was sent to customers. Special car care was taken with the cover illustrations, which involved the Michelin Man. He was turned into even more of a hero than he was in France. On this cover, the Michelin Man is dressed as a diplomat that is idolised by women.

1914:

The Michelin Man's appearance and attitude reflected the customer of his time, smoking cigars and wearing spectacles was his interpretation of the French artist René Vincent.

1914

Over the years and following a quick international expansion, the Michelin Man remained a key reason of success and was localized in every country, adopting a local costume.

The Modernization of the Michelin Man

Under the lead of Walter Storozuk, chief artistic designer for Michelin’s advertising department in the United States, the Michelin Man modernized himself and overcame the status of brand logo. 

He became an art motif in and was featured by famous international artists such as Salvador Dali and De Ranchin.

1959:

Michelin contributed to the James Bond 007 film, “A View to a Kill” in our first attempt to implement placement marketing. Roger Moore and the Michelin Man appeared standing back to back in a series of posters, promoting a slogan that stated: “the tyres that save”. 

1982:

This year saw the creation of the running Michelin Man and return of the use of humour in advertising, bolstering his reputation and favour.

1998:

The Michelin Man celebrated his centenary. The actual brand logo of the Michelin group was created for this occasion and we gave him a new look: slimmer and more dynamic.

2000:

The Michelin Man is elected “best logo of the century”.

2011:

The Michelin Man became part of the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in New York City, United States.

2014:

The Michelin Man celebrates his 125-year birthday, demonstrating the strength and sustainability of his role as brand ambassador, and its dynamic and visionary approach to demonstrating how to achieve a better mobility to the global public.

MichelinMan exhibition site

MichelinMan exhibition site

History of the Michelin Group

History of the Michelin Group