The original Michelin Man dates to 1894.
The rubber used for tyres is naturally white and originally made for bicycles.
In 1912, carbon compounds were mixed into the production process; this addition of carbon made the tyres more durable.
With the aid of a caricature artist, the Michelin Man was born. The design comprised a range of tyres of different thicknesses, from bike tyres to car tyres.
The Michelin Man became a brand ambassador. Michelin cleverly marketed their tyres as ‘swallowing the bumps in the road’, making a smoother ride.
‘Nunc est Bibendum’. The Michelin tyre drinks up the obstacle.
Michelin also began reviewing restaurants.
The idea was to get people to drive further and, in so doing, wear out their tyres.
Michelin devised a Star System:
One Star: ‘A very good restaurant in its category’
Two Stars: ‘Excellent cooking, worth a detour’
Three Stars:’ Exceptional Cuisine, worth a special journey
Interestingly, originally, Mr Michelin had a cigar and monocle but gradually dropped any connection to drinking.
Which seems odd as alcohol and fine food are closely intertwined.
Celebrity Chef Rene Redzepi says restaurants don’t make money when people don’t buy wine.
Turning foodies into roadies since forever – Michelin Guide