Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Michelin Man in 1920 (3 print ads)

- - Or: 'Advertising Icons and their Bad Habits, part 1'.
(Possibilities for part 2 include 'Toucan Sam dips snuff' or 'The Truth about 'Speedy' Alka-Seltzer')

The sight of the Michelin Man was familiar enough while leafing through ads in some vintage magazines, even if his look was a little different in the old days.

What I personally wasn't prepared for was the revelation that he had been a cigar smoker...

Turns out there's much to learn about the Michelin Man, including his name.

'Bib' is short for 'Bibendum', which is derived from Latin for 'drinking to be done'.

Back around 1898, Michelin's earliest print ads to feature the character portrayed him as a 'road drunkard'; tough enough to enjoy imbibing draughts of rusty nails, shards of glass and other roadway hazards with no ill effects.

The Latin advertising motto became transferred to the character, and the name stuck.

'Bib' would eventually cut down on the drinking and smoking. Other modifications have included spectacles that eventually disappeared, and more recently he's trimmed down and become more fit and active.

For more Michelin Man background, advertising art and observations, see also:

- 'Just who is that jolly, puffy toff?' at Bobke Strut

- The Michelin Man museum exhibition site (Via Gems Sty)


Devil Dick said...

freakie eyeless tire zombie.... only from the swamps of new jersey.....

Devil Dick said...

and why is the tire zombie smoking....??? strange....

Anonymous said...

The michelin man looks like he's tripping on mushrooms! But maybe its that hash he's smoking in the last ad...?

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