Slimline look for Michelin man as brand icon returns

The Michelin man, one of the most famous brand icons, is being resurrected after an absence of eight years in a new multi-million pound advertising push for the tyre manufacturer.

The character has been slimmed down for a new television campaign, which breaks on March 5. The company has not advertised on TV since 2003 and the Michelin man has not featured in its advertising since 1999.

Michelin claims that 83% of people in the UK recognise the Michelin man and it was named advertising icon of the century by the Financial Times in 2000.

The company’s UK head of marketing, Thierry Rudloff, says: “We’ve refreshed him because he’s a key asset for us. We’ve slimmed him down because it shows the evolution of people and is a way of keeping up with changes in society. He demonstrates the evolution of society but also the evolution of the brand and the world we live in.”

The campaign, which will run for five weeks and also includes outdoor, press and digital advertising, has been created by Michelin’s retained advertising agency TBWA and marks a “substantial” increase in investment in the Michelin brand, which has also just revamped its restaurant guide and launched a new guide for London.

The Michelin man is the latest brand icon to be revived in recent months. Cadbury is bringing back the “Flake girl” after five years, while npower is “kidnapping” British Gas character Sid to use in its own advertising (MW last week).

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