CEA Brings Back Bibendum

Campbell-Ewald Ad ver tising uses Michelin North America’s famous mascot to convey qua lity, innovation and security in its first branding campaign for the tire marketer.

Three television spots from the Warren, Mich., agency put the Michelin Man (aka Bibendum) front and center as a way to educate consumers about the values connected to the Green ville, S.C., company, said Bill Lud wig, the agency’s vice chairman and chief creative officer.

“Everyone knows Michelin is the No. 1 brand, but people couldn’t tell us why and whether it was worth the extra money,” Ludwig said.

While previous commercials used a baby to highlight product safety, the new effort focuses primarily on security, Ludwig said. “It’s more about control and confidence,” he said.

The 15- and 30-second spots combine film and computer-generated animation created by Digital Domain, Los Angeles, to illustrate the Michelin Man’s passion for tires.

A spot titled “Hands On” plays up the company’s commitment to quality and depicts the strict testing performed at a Michelin tire factory. As the 1970s ballad “Never Gonna Let You Go” is played, Bibendum lovingly inspects each tire and tearfully sends them on their way.

Another commercial, “Dance,” opens with a designer working at his desk. Coffee cups begin to rattle, and the whole room vibrates. A pan to the floor above shows the Michelin Man dancing around his office in celebration of the com pany’s many J.D. Power and Associates awards for cus tomer satisfaction.

As expected, the campaign continues the company’s tagline, “Because so much is riding on your tires” [Adweek, Feb 25].

The campaign broke last week and will run on network TV as well as on sports and late-night programming. Print and radio ads are also planned.

The agency won the $35 million account last June after a review. It was previously handled by Omnicom Group’s DDB, New York.