Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Michelin Bibendum's Metamorphosis

The Michelin Man is also known as Bib the Michelin Man and Bibendum. This universally recognized figure was created in 1898 by Marius Rossillon after the Michelin bros. (Andre and Edouard) noticed how a stack of bicycle tires looked like a human.

The first ad showed a mummy-like figure toasting to his thinner and weaker competitors. With a glass full of road hazards, Bib said, obtusely in Latin: Now is the time to drink-- The Michelin tire drinks up obstacles. "Bibendum" means to drink in Latin and the name stuck, although not in the less worldly U.S. of A.

Note the horseshoe garnish in the drink. The two gentlemen on the sides are Dunlop and Continental.

For much of its life, Bib was portly, wore specs, and smoked a big stogie.

In the last quarter of the 20th century, Bib looked more like an animated cartoon character, with simple lines and a child-friendly face.
As the century came to a close, Bib slimmed down quite a bit. Obesity was becoming an epidemic in industrialized countries and it did not fit Michelin's sporty image.

Where did that spare tire go? Now and then.

Source of info here.


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