Thursday, 29 June 2017

Logo to Go

The Michelin Man, Bibendum, has to be one of my favourite brand characters. So I've been slightly wary in the last couple of weeks on hearing that the Michelin Man has been 'slimmed down' and made 'more in tune with the 21st century.' But I think all the cries of 'pandering to the pc-police' aren't warranted. The new-look Michelin Man, above, is his jolly, friendly, dynamic self and would still probably command a BMI above 25. In fact, I welcome the return to a 2-D look - far more classic and adaptable than its 3-D predecessor.

The Michelin Man was conceived by the Michelin brothers Andre and Edouard in the 1890s, who remarked, on seeing a pile of tyres: Look, with arms it would be a man.

The famous poster that launched Bibendum's career was illustrated by the cartoonist Marius Rossillon, aka O'Galop. Here is some more of his work for Michelin:

I love the style of some of the early posters, even if some of Bibendum's accessories might be deemed 'inappropriate' today.

Quite the ladies' man - and look at those shapely calves!

Don't drink/smoke and drive? Ah, well.

You can have my spare tyre?

Spot the Beau Geste influence. Or was it The Desert Song?

Ton-up tyreman? No helmet necessary.

And he's still popular today with the meme set.

Maybe all this goes to show that sometimes random, intuitive thoughts (" would be a man") lead to better longevity for company logos and mascots than painstaking definition of brand values, essences and character traits and the careful construction of brand models.

Bibendum is a character that has taken his company from bike tyres to the 21st century 'mobility' market. I'll leave you with a picture of him and some of his advertising chums having a bit of a shindig on the London Underground.

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