Monday, February 08, 2016

the Michelin mascot, Bibendum, was the groundwork for a 2500 page, 4 volume, thesis on graphic design by Professor Pau Medrano Bigas. All in Spanish, but available, just without the images, because of concerns for copyright on 100 year old advertising.

Professor Pau Medrano Bigas, Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Barcelona, has spent ten years researching Michelin's graphic history. In July 2015, Pau presented his doctorate thesis The forgotten years of Bibendum: the American stage of Michelin in Milltown. Design, illustration and advertising at tire companies (1900-1930). Several sections of his thesis detailed how Michelin promoted and advertised their tires at the Vanderbilt Cup Races and other great races of the era.

(wow, that... is EFFORT to be completely THOROUGH!) and I tell you I'd love to look through and admire all the advertising in it.

UPDATE Apr 2016, Dr Pau emailed me, and let me know that " I'm trying to find the way to translate my Thesis in english in order to make it available for all people. When I will find it, sure it will be reproduced in high ressolution with all the images. I will asure it will be a big surprise for all interested people in design advertising and motor-world)."

 The first volume, in addition to the statement of sources and the bibliography, reflects on the importance of advertising mascots in the early twentieth century in Europe and, especially, the United States, before an in-depth study of the origins of the Bibendum mascot.

The 2nd volume returns to the origins of the the industry in New Jersey and the birth of the American Michelin factory in the city of Milltown. The author details the factory’s activity and portrays the personal and professional profile of Jules Hauvette-Michelin, a member of the Michelin family who was sent from France to act as Vice-President of the business. The importance of paternalistic structures put in place by Michelin (building housing for employees, sports associations) is well understood. The author undertakes the significant work of cross-checking information on men, staffing, economic results, advertising budgets, providing completely new information to better understand the importance of this implementation. The Michelin patriotic commitment during World War It is presented as central to the success of the Company, while the author makes broad comparisons based on a vast inventory of patriotic campaigns launched by Michelin and its competitors, in the United States first, but also in France, England, Italy and Germany.

The 3rd volume attempts to describe the American Michelin advertising strategies in the United States but also creates a portrait of the three advertising illustrators that contributed to the success of the firm’s campaigns.

The 4th and final volume is a detailed study of the advertising campaigns of Michelin’s competitors in the United States during the years between 1900 and 1930.

Each chapter consists of a written section followed by content developed around illustrations that are indispensable to gaining a global understanding of the work.

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