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Michelin Man

Michelin Man

Mascot of Michelin tires

Bibendum, commonly referred to in English as the Michelin Man or Michelin Tyre Man, is the official mascot of the Michelin tire company. Introduced at the Lyon Exhibition of 1894 where the Michelin brothers had a stand, Bibendum is one of the world's oldest trademarks. The slogan Nunc est bibendum (Now is the time to drink) is taken from Horace's Odes (book I, ode xxxvii, line 1). He is also referred to as Bib or Bibelobis.

Michelin dominated the French tire industry for decades and remains a leading player in the market. It was one of the leading advertisers; to this day its famous guidebooks are widely used by travelers. Bibendum was depicted visually as a lord of industry, a master of all he surveyed, and a patriotic exponent of the French spirit. In the 1920s, Bibendum urged Frenchmen to adopt America's superior factory system, but to patriotically avoid using the "inferior" products of those factories. As automobiles became available to the middle classes, Michelin advertising likewise shifted downscale, and its restaurant and hotel guides likewise covered a broader range of price categories.

The natural color of rubber is white, and so up until the early 1900's tires were a pale, light color. Carbon started to be added around 1912 to add strength and durability, which is why all tires are now black. At the time of his invention, Mr. Bib was representing the product as a stack of white tires, because that's the color the tires were.


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