GREENVILLE, S.C. — Michelin North America Inc. has redesigned the iconic Uniroyal Tire tiger mascot into "Royal," a tiger cub wearing a crown and sitting inside a Uniroyal tire.
The symbol of a tiger has been associated with Uniroyal since the 1960s, when the brand introduced the Tiger Paw line of tires and a cartoon tiger starred in Uniroyal ads.
Today, the Tiger Paw line of tires still represents a large segment of Uniroyal's portfolio. The new icon was created just ahead of the largest product launch in the brand's history: the Tiger Paw Touring All-Season, available to consumers in June, the company said.
"The tiger is reliably strong and protective, as are Uniroyal tires," Olivia Le Meur, Uniroyal brand director, said.
"For more than 50 years, the tiger has been associated with our tires. As we have our biggest product launch in history this year, we want a brand mascot that can help tell our story."
The brand commissioned artist Jared Emerson to reimagine Royal the tiger. A series of images shows Royal as a tiger cub — a nod to the brand bringing value to families.
The tiger's name, "Royal," also is a link to the brand's heritage. U.S. Royal was the predecessor to Uniroyal and has remained a Uniroyal trademark for decades, the company said. The new icon features a crown to emphasize the tiger's symbolic name.
Royal will appear in various settings and poses as the brand launches more than 100 sizes of the Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring A/S in 2019.
The mascot redesign comes less than a year after Michelin disclosed a partnership with a World Wildlife Fund program that aims to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022.
On behalf of its Uniroyal brand — and its Tiger Paw line of tires — Michelin committed to donate at least $150,000 annually to the WWF for the next five years and invited dealers and consumers to participate in the program as well.