In a move aimed at further widening the appeal of the Michelin brand, the Michelin Group today announced it is launching a major brand extension initiative. The worldwide initiative will target consumer markets through a licensing program.

The Licensing Company (TLC), a London-based agency, has been retained by Michelin to develop the program. Though the details will not be finalized until autumn of this year, Michelin says the initiative will include the use of the brand name and Bibendum, the Michelin Man, in diverse consumer goods markets.

Michelin is the world’s leading tire brand and one of the world’s most recognized brand names. The strength and versatility of the brand also have been demonstrated in its Michelin maps, tourist, hotel and restaurant guides. For more than 100 years, travelers everywhere have relied on these publications, proving their trust in the quality of the products and their appreciation of the warm and friendly personality of Bibendum.

“The Michelin brand name is an asset in itself,” said Patrick Lepercq, Director of Michelin’s brand extension initiative. “We are confident that TLC will be a strong partner. It has an excellent track record and a strong international presence. Its management has already demonstrated a sound understanding of the Michelin brand and its values.”

Commenting on the appointment, TLC Managing Director Angela Farrugia said, “Michelin’s market leadership, its core values of performance and service, and its reputation for innovation are the foundation of this initiative. Combined with TLC’s fresh and flexible approach, we have all the ingredients for a powerful brand extension program.”

The Michelin Group now sells nearly one million tire and travel related products every day. The Company has 127,000 employees worldwide and has a commercial presence in 170 countries. Michelin’s headquarters are located in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

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TLC specializes in corporate and brand licensing and manages a portfolio of high-profile brands. The Company is based in London, with offices in Paris, New York and Tokyo, and works with sub-agencies worldwide.