British Advertising Posters: An Introduction

The Michelin Man, who was voted the most recognised icon in the world in 2000 by a Financial Times panel, has always been at the forefront of Michelin’s advertising campaigns. Conceived in 1898 from the imagination of the Michelin brothers and O’Galop’s (Alias Marius Rossillon’s) pencil, he is still regarded with tremendous affection today and continues to play a key visual role for the Brand over a century later.

Each month we’ll share one of a selection of British campaign posters, some of which we feel sure many of you will remember fondly from back in the day, with recognisable straplines, occasional British institutions and fabulously eye-catching designs. We hope you enjoy them!

Sir Bibendum – The White Knight (1905)

One of the very early British advertising efforts was for a tyre that was covered with metal studs. As you can see from the visual here, the Michelin Man dons a knight’s armour to announce the news, and to affirm his invulnerability, to all of Great Britain. However, there is a hint of humour from the French artist in this design. If you look closely at the fantasy coat of arms on this white knight’s shield, alongside the tough treaded tyre with a nail (green quarter) and the then famous champagne glass full of shards, nail and broken glass (black quarter), you can see a quirky pair of spectacles and three cigars, representing André Michelin’s glasses and Bibendum’s early smoking habit.