Wednesday, 13 June 2012


Bibendum is an ever present character in our depot and office. His image appears in much of our point of sale and indeed current promotions. We even have a statuette of him behind the sales desk.
 I was thinking the other day what my earliest memory of him was and decided that he goes back as far as I can remember. He was on the maps and guides in my Dads glove box and on garage walls everywhere when I was growing up. So I decided I would give a brief history of him.
So who is Bibendum, the man of tyres?
''Nunc est Bibendum'' translates from Latin as, ''Now is the time to drink''. Edouard Michelin suggested in a presentation to Paris City Council in 1894 that his tyres for the Paris trams ''would drink up obstacles''.
At the Paris Exhibition that year he remarked on a display of a pile of tyres ''if you put arms and legs on it, it would look like a man''.
And so By the time of the Lyon exhibition of 1898, the man was born complete with glass drinking up obstacles and the Latin caption .He quickly became a celebration of mobility in France and beyond.

Here he is in 1898 raisng his glass to celebrate his triumph over nails and objects. He is white because at that time, tyres had no Carbon Black in them and so were whitish in colour.

He continued to partner with his creators through the revolution in bicycle tyres which was made possible by Michelin's one piece pneumatic tyres. Bibendum led the way in the Paris-Brest-Paris cycle years of the 1890's and 1900's.With the invention of the motor car, a whole new market opened up for Michelin and Bibendum followed. As motoring became a hobby and pass time, so maps and guides were required. Michelin produced these and branded them with their hero,celebrating with a cigar. Synonymous with good times.
As cars developed so did tyres and Bibendum was on the the first radial tyres invented by Michelin and the first run flat tyres also.
Through the years his physique has been changed considerably. He's slimmed down, given up drinking, smoking and appears as a more energetic figure. He adorns the finest restaurants and hotels of the world, the former compete for his one, two and three star accolades. Pubs can achieve ''Bib Gourmand'' awards where they excel in food and hospitality. Bibendum is with us everywhere.
He is one of the worlds oldest corporate mascots, shaded maybe only by the Quaker pilgrim and is one of the top 20 recognised figures in the world. He has figured in motor sports since their inception and continues to be associated with the best drivers and riders in the world.
The company he represents continue to prosper as a Fortune 500 company and have been world market leader in tyres for many years.
The enduring survival of Bibendum as a corporate mascot says much about the vision of his creators back in the 1880's. He is as recognisable today as ever and people the world over know him as the man behind Michelin. He will be with us for some time to come.

At Heffernan Tyres, we have a long history with Michelin. We have stocked Michelin Tyres since the 1960's in all product groups. We supplied tyres during the construction of the Kildare Bypass. Michelin Tyres excelled in those tough site conditions. We have hauliers using Michelin truck tyres and as a business we always recommend quality to our motorist customers. Michelin car tyres fit that niche.
 We were the first Irish business to receive the Michelin Accreditation and we continue to recommend Michelin as a top of the range product.

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