Michelin tire ad by René Vincent circa 1916

michelin01.jpg

I love the work of René Vincent, illustrator extraordinaire from the early 1900s. He did poster art for Bugatti, Shell, and Peugeot, among many others until his death in 1936. I saw this 1916 Michelin ad at the Concours d’Elegance yesterday &mdash I love that the tire dude is smoking a fat cigar while the rich family that owns the car is fixing his belly. There’s something very endearing about the whole scene.

About Lisa Katayama

I'm a contributing editor here at Boing Boing. I also have a blog (TokyoMango), a book (Urawaza), and I freelance for Wired, Make, the NY Times Magazine, PRI's Studio360, etc. I'm @tokyomango on Twitter.
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16 Responses to Michelin tire ad by René Vincent circa 1916

  1. Talk about weird ads. Check this one out. Although the ad is vintage, the message to me is clear. If you bathe with “this” soap, you’re gonna get f###ed up!

  2. Halloween Jack says:

    Without the date for the poster, I’d have assumed that that was some Soviet satire of Western consumerism, especially with that dude on his knees, pulling the rubbery tube toward his mouth…

  3. Anonymous says:

    They aren’t fixing him, he’s fixing them. It’s Bibendum to the rescue!

  4. Dr. Furter says:

    They are not fixing his belly, that doesn’t make any sense, they are taking a tire from his belly to fix the shredded car tire.

  5. RikF says:

    Fixing? I think they are pulling a roll of fat out of a gaping wound to replace their flat tire…

    But maybe that’s just me.

  6. TJ S says:

    Agree with RikF, except that since the Michelin man is made of tires, I believe that he is giving the family a free replacement.

    Not sure how to work a spare-tire/fat belly joke in here.

  7. gabrielm says:

    Human hands on a dude made out of tires? Who did he steal those from? And whats with that gang that he’s flashing?

  8. RikF says:

    Damn you Rob! I *should* be reading Foucault’s history of sexuality. Now I’m hunting though my bookshelf for a little Gibson action. Thesis schmesis…

  9. Rob Beschizza says:

    This is the one that freaked out Cayce!

  10. eyecrax says:

    Michelin man is white because back in the day they shipped tires in white paper (replaced with blue wax/plastic today), in this picture Michelin man is offering a love handle to help out the stranded family

  11. Poiple says:

    Just wanted to chime in and say that the Michelin mascot’s name is Bibendum. I’ve heard that he was named after the sound that a tire makes going over a bump in the road, although the pedia doesn’t back this up.

  12. Michał says:

    OMG I prefer new Michelin guy. This one looks very dramatic ;)

  13. zapan says:

    Wrong, he is named Bibendum because of a latin idiom “Bibedum bibendere” meaning I drank and I will drink again. That slogan was present on the early posters of the Bibendum man, where you could see him drink nails and shattered glass, to demonstrate the reliability of the Michelin tires.

  14. Anonymous says:

    dude, the family is not “fixing Bibendum’s belly”, instead they are removing his spare tyre to replace their own.

  15. procrastinet says:

    Apparently the first ad he appeared in featured the slogan “Nunc et Bibendum” (Now is the Time to Drink) as he prepared to quaff a glass full of tire-puncturing road hazards. Funny poster-centric blog post about it here.

  16. Doomstalk says:

    Rob: “he took a duck in the face at 250 knots.”

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