On the heels of its 150th birthday, Macy’s unveiled its plans for a nostalgic Christmas campaign called Believe, based on the New York Sun’s famous "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial from 1897.
Complete with in-store "Believe Stations" and a devoted "celebrity designer" TV ad, Believe captures the heart of the holiday with a season-long effort that elevates the message of goodwill and generosity through a campaign to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation®.
Known worldwide for its holiday traditions from the Thanksgiving Day Parade to the first in-store Santa, the magic of Macy’s will unfold this year with Believe Stations in every store that feature a Believe Meter, letter-writing station and an official R.H. Macy Santa Mail letterbox. Beginning on November 9, children across the country are invited to drop off their letters – stamped and addressed to Santa At The North Pole – at any Macy’s store in the Santa Mail letterbox. For each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation up to $1 million to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
The Believe campaign was rooted in a letter to the editor written by eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon in 1897 asking if there is a Santa Claus. Newsman Francis P. Church responded with a poignantly worded essay on the importance of believing, including the famous line "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist…"
"We are so excited to launch this inspirational Christmas campaign," said Peter Sachse, president of Macy’s Corporate Marketing. "Believe is the articulation of everything we treasure about the holiday season, and is an authentic celebration of the Christmas spirit. We felt strongly that this year it was important to remember and embrace the real sentiment of the season. We’d like to inspire all of America to believe."
The Believe advertising campaign will break on Sunday, November 9 with a national television spot and innovative newspaper ads, including full-page reprints of the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial and disrupter print ads (ads which break into editorial space). The television campaign will feature Macy’s "stars" Jessica Simpson, Martha Stewart, Carlos Santana, Donald Trump, Tommy Hilfiger and Kenneth Cole reciting select lines from "Yes, Virginia." A Spanish-language version will feature Carlos Santana, Ana de la Reguera and Carlos Ponce. All advertising will invite children around the country to deposit their letters to Santa at their local R.H. Macy Santa Mail letterbox to help grant the wishes of seriously ill children.
"The Believe campaign not only reflects the spirit of the holiday season, it also speaks to a wish experience – helping a child believe in their own future," David Williams, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America president and chief executive officer. "We truly appreciate Macy’s continued generosity and partnership in helping us grant even more wishes to courageous children thanks to this inspirational campaign."
The Believe Campaign will come to life online as well with a microsite – www.macys.com/believe –which will tell the story of Virginia O’Hanlon, feature an electronic Believe Meter, offer a downloadable letter kit complete with official Santa letterhead, and allow customers to design their own "Claus" with the "Be Claus" application. "Be Claus" personalization allows customers to upload a photo and design themselves as Santa Claus. The final artwork can be used as an e-card, posted to a Facebook or MySpace page or sent to a mobile phone.