In 125 years, the Michelin Man has become one of the most well-known brand logos in the world, being elected "Best logo of the century" by an international jury in 2000. Marketing pioneer with a certain talent for publicity, dynamic and jovial, he moves from a brand ambassador to an emblematic brand icon. Since the beginning, he has been helping us show people around the world how to achieve a better mobility.
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”.
André Michelin visited the talented poster artist O’Galop. The artist presented a paintbrush of a little round man made of tyres, holding a mug full of nails and pieces of glass. Thus was “Nunc est bibendum” slogan born, translated from Latin to “The tyre that drinks up obstacles”. The Michelin Man was born and became famous very rapidly 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 French, known as the “Bibendum”, brand ambassador of Michelin..
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 on motorshows.
The Michelin Man crossed the Atlantic and set up in USA. The advertising became more educational: the Michelin Man was depicted as a giant, accompanying and advising travellers by explaining the advantages of his products. This approach became the main one in the 1930’s on all Michelin Man advertorials.
Following the ”Michelin Mondays”, fun but educational review format in France, the Italian subsidiary of the group published a monthly review sent to its 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 idolised by women.
The Michelin Man appearance and attitude reflected the customer of his time, smoking cigars and wearing spectacles like in this interpretation of the French artist René Vincent. Over the year and following our quick international expansion, The Michelin Man remained a key reason of our success and was localized in every country, adopting local costume.
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 began an art motif in the world. He was featured by famous international artists such as Salvador Dali or De Ranchin and used in art biennale such as the one in Venice in 1997.
We contributed to the James Bond 007 film, “A View to a Kill” in our first attempt to product placement marketing. Roger Moore and the Michelin Man appeared standing back to back in a series of posters, promoting “the tyres that save” slogan.
Creation of the Running Michelin Man and return of the use of humour in advertising.
The Michelin Man celebrated his centenary. The actual brand logo of our group was created for this occasion and we gave him a new look: slimmer and more dynamic in the company’s brand block.
The Michelin Man is elected “best logo of the century”.
The Michelin Man became part of the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in New York City, United States.
The Michelin Man celebrates his 125 years, demonstrating the strength and sustainability of this brand ambassador in its dynamic and visionary approach to demonstrate to all public around the world how to achieve a better mobility.
Michelin and the Michelin Man became official sponsor of the Brazil national football team for 5 years.