Did you know Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was created as a Montgomery Wards gimmick? No, really he was. Although my mom would no doubt say "Monkey Wards," a nickname I think has faded along with Wards' popularity.
I love this: "[the creator's boss] was worried that a story featuring a red nose — an image associated with drinking and drunkards — was unsuitable for a Christmas tale."
Howzat? Hey, quit bogarting the eggnog, Donner! And pass me the flask, Blitzen!