For over 130 years, Michelin has been extremely successful in a highly competitive market. What makes this traditional company so strong?
He is famous, he is likeable, he is iconic: no other trademark embodies the career, philosophy and success of a company better than the Michelin Man.
1894, World's Fair in Lyon: Édouard Michelin notices a pile of car tyres of different sizes wrapped in white fabric. He draws his brother André's attention to it: "If he had arms, he would almost look like a man," Édouard says to his brother. The idea of the Michelin Man is born! Together with the artist and advertising artist Marius Rossillon alias O'Galop, the two company founders design the first advertising poster four years later. The title of the poster: "Nunc est bibendum".
The reason why the Roman toast "Now let's drink" gives the poster its title and the Michelin man his name is explained in the stapline: "To your health! The Michelin tyre drinks the obstacle!" (in the original: "À votre Santé. Le pneu Michelin boit l'obstacle!").
This refers to broken glass and nails - not uncommon on the dusty roads at the turn of the century - which the Michelin man drinks with relish and ease. Life-size, he finally makes his public debut at the Michelin stand at the first Paris Motor Show.
A changeable logo with an unmistakable character
Since then, the Michelin Man has appeared on all the brand's advertising material, illustrating technical information on the correct use of tyres and still features prominently at trade fairs and events. Since 1898, the Michelin Man has evolved from a heavyweight pile of tyres with a monocle and a cigar to a slim, friendly companion who is always taking on different roles. Our Bibendum has never lost its unmistakable character, however, and was even named the best logo of all time by a jury of the "Financial Times" in 2000, and in 2018 was awarded the prestigious "Icon of the Millennium" Award by New York Advertising Week.