Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011

Michelin Man

Somehow the Michelin brothers, André and Edouard, thought having a mascot for their tire company would be a good idea. An even better idea, they figured, would be to model him after a stack of — you guessed it — tires. But it apparently never occurred to the siblings, who founded their business in 1898, that the original Michelin Man looked a little like a mummy. The rubbery man was initially drawn holding a goblet of nails and glass, exclaiming in Latin: "Nunc est bibendum!" (Now is the time to drink!) to accompany the slogan "Michelin Tires Swallow All Obstacles." Over the years, however, the Michelin Man's image softened and he smiled a lot more. But more than 85 years after his first appearance, Bibendum — as the mascot is still affectionately known — was upstaged by another white and puffy creature: the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from 1984's Ghostbusters. Those two plus the Pillsbury Doughboy make up a trio of white, fluffy mascot creepiness.