Back in the early 90s, we needed to save Christmas and I almost got Steve Rude to do it.
I was in brand management when I was starting out my marketing career. I had the great fortune to be assigned to Nabisco’s OREO brand. It was a lot of fun. I worked on the launch of Mini OREO, introduced the Halloween OREO and a Christmas variant with red crème. In those days, changing anything about Nabisco’s brand was a serious exercise only undertaken with the most serious thought and planning. This is in stark contrast today, when every season there are several more flavor variants to the brand.
Christmas and cookies always go together, and one of the annual traditions for the brand was to create a collectible OREO tin. These were tins with a wistful, family-focused Rockewellian painting that would be sold with a 16 oz. package of OREO inside it. From a marketing perspective it served many purposes: it was one more reason for someone to buy OREO, the retailers had an excuse to build a display and we even had fans who collected them each year.
We typically hired a commercial illustrator to provide the painting of a family eating OREO cookies by the Christmas Tree. They were perfectly fine, but I had the idea that I wanted to step it up with one of my favorite artists.
Steve Rude had burst onto the scene the decade before with his brilliant Nexus series and other comics work. His work was always exciting and fun to look at fun to look at, but one couldn’t help but be struck by both his brilliant design sense, and his ability to render expressive figures. Many of the covers would be painted, while the interiors would showcase his impressive traditional comics work. His paintings are what sparked my idea. Continue reading “With Further Ado #017: When Steve Rude Almost Saved Christmas”