Ecce Pneumo!
April 13, 2003 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Bibendum (AKA The Michelin Man), or how an anthropomorphic pile of tires became one of the world's most recognizable corporate symbols.
posted by MrBaliHai (19 comments total)
I can't click the link or I'll break out in a cold sweat.

posted by KnitWit at 1:48 PM on April 13, 2003

Working for Trans long, KnitWit? ;)
posted by smrtsch at 2:39 PM on April 13, 2003

Hah, obscure Wm. Gibson reference. Here I thought he was talking about Edgar Cayce, and was wondering if he'd had prophetic visions involving the Michelin Man.
posted by MrBaliHai at 2:57 PM on April 13, 2003

Is it really all that obscure? Pattern Recognition seemed to run rampant through the online community as soon as it was released and Bibendum seemed to be a keystone. I imagine many people, like me, zeroed in on the name after having always knowing him as the Michelin Man. Of course, I also found myself writing down all the minor details and artifacts he wrote about to research at a later date.

(also note Bibendum the resturant)
posted by KnitWit at 3:35 PM on April 13, 2003

Very cute...I had no idea that "Bibendum" had been around so long. My only quibble: "...without a doubt the best known publicity character in the world." Well...he's well-known, for sure, but I'm sure there are several much more well-known characters.

Having said that...two points: WHAT A STUPID NAME. I never knew he had a name, besides just "The Michelin Man." Second, the recent commercial, which show TMM getting all misty-eyed as another tire leaves the factory, is one of the cutest I've ever seen. Heck, it almost makes ME tear up...
posted by davidmsc at 3:41 PM on April 13, 2003

KnitWit, you have me vibrating in my chair. Thank you.
I'm one of the loose Gibsonites that eBayed for an ARC of Pattern Recognition before it's release. Fortunately, I'm not the one that paid $150. More like £14.
In an unnervingly Gibsonesque way, references to Pattern Recognition, Neuromancer, Gibson and other Gibson-related memes having been cropping up exponentially in the lead up to my planned Gibson stalkathon during his upcoming UK signing tour. Perhaps it's apophenia. Either way, I can't think of a more enjoyable way to spend the end of my Easter break than manhunting my favourite author.
Watch out, Bill.
posted by armoured-ant at 4:08 PM on April 13, 2003

AA - He just lives down the road from me. Sometimes I swear HE is stalking me. Somedays I run into him about 2 or 3 times. Always seems unintentional, but I am sure he watching me. Makes me nervous as hell.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 6:07 PM on April 13, 2003

There's this local tyre ad about this bloke who's obsessed with tyres, and in one of the shots he's having a barbeque with Bibendum.
posted by GrahamVM at 6:28 PM on April 13, 2003

There's an amazing 3-foot-tall Bibendum that sits outside of a restaurant/cafe, Robin des Bois/Sherwood Cafe, in my neighborhood in Brooklyn holding the titular sign. Just, you know, FYI.
posted by The Michael The at 6:37 PM on April 13, 2003

MetaFilter: It'll have you vibrating in your chair.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:50 PM on April 13, 2003

Bibendum...wonder if he was the inspiration for Mr. Blowup? (nsfw)
posted by madamjujujive at 7:53 PM on April 13, 2003

AA - He just lives down the road from me. Sometimes I swear HE is stalking me. Somedays I run into him about 2 or 3 times. Always seems unintentional, but I am sure he watching me. Makes me nervous as hell.

Let's swap houses. You can live in a 5'x12' room in a house with five single British girls aged 19-22, and I'll live in William Gibson Street. Deal?
posted by armoured-ant at 8:45 PM on April 13, 2003

Sorry AA, your offer sounds tempting, but I will have to pass. I enjoy the fact that he knows me by sight and refers to me by name, well more like "hey, get off my lawn" but it is progressing.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 9:07 PM on April 13, 2003

Hey, Bibendum knows me by name too! Small world.
posted by mmoncur at 2:57 AM on April 14, 2003

I have always, always loved Bibendum, since being introduced to him first in beret & w/baguette on the cover of Michelin's Paris guide at the age of six (he used to take on national dress on each respective guide).

Today Nurri and I ordered a Bibendum t-shirt for the baby we plan to have in a year or two. Call it the triumph of brand awareness, maybe - something we otherwise would want to steer superclear of - but, hey, nunc est Bibendum!
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:48 AM on April 14, 2003

My husband and I were randomly walking around Kensington, hunting for a tube station, and we came across the Bibendum building. Out of the blue, there it was -- a monument to Modern Design and tires. And it was fabulous.
posted by Katemonkey at 5:53 AM on April 14, 2003

I never thought that guy looked like tires anyway. More like toroidal marshmallows.
posted by Foosnark at 7:26 AM on April 14, 2003

BTW, and off topic:

- I thought Cayce Pollard's eponymous "Units" only came in black, white, or grey. The Buzz Rickson's MA-1's are clearly available only in blue or sage green. What's up with that?

- Did she consider the EIGHT US AIR FORCE wings a logo, and efface them, or did she learn to live with the blazon?

- I want a Curta. Yes I do.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:21 AM on April 14, 2003

I always thought Bibs (I call him that 'cause we're old buds - he yells at me to get off HIS lawn) more resembled a stack of Krispy Kreme donuts (who ever drives on ALL-WHITE tires?).
As for Gibs (I call him that 'cause it sounds like Bibs), is he something I need to have a library card to know about?
posted by wendell at 12:48 PM on April 14, 2003

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