- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was born out of a department store marketing assignment.
- Defunct Chicago-based department store Montgomery Ward wanted to pass out free coloring books to children during the holiday shopping season of 1939.
- Copywriter Robert L. May was tasked with writing a poem to go in the booklets.
- Drawing on his own childhood experience with bullying, May created the character of Rudolph, a little reindeer ostracized for his shiny nose.
- Rudolph was a huge hit, and Montgomery Ward distributed 2.4 million free copies of the story in 1939.
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