The magic of the holiday season returns this year with Macy's annual Believe campaign inviting customers to share in the spirit of goodwill and generosity. Since the program began seven years ago, it has raised more than $8.7 million to benefit Make-A-Wish as believers from coast-to-coast have participated in the program’s signature letter writing campaign, which will return this year. From Nov. 7 to Dec. 24, customers can visit their local Macy’s store to drop their stamped letters, addressed to “Santa at the North Pole,” into special Santa Mail letterboxes. New this year, the Believe letter campaign is going digital – in addition to mailing letters in store, customers can visit macys.com/believe to create and send their letter to Santa. For each letter collected in-store and online, Macy’s will donate $1, up to $1 million, to Make-A-Wish, helping to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Macy’s is also asking America to wish big and help set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for the longest wish list to Santa through their letters created at macys.com/believe. Additional Believe elements will include a nationally televised animated special, activity guides for teachers, a school musical program, and the return of the sixth annual National Believe Day.
“Each holiday season, Macy’s Believe campaign touches the lives of families and children in our local communities, as our customers rally to collect Santa letters to benefit Make-A-Wish,” said Martine Reardon, chief marketing officer for Macy’s. “This year, we’re introducing several new and exciting elements, including online letter submissions and an interactive website, to further engage our customers in wish fulfillments. Our Santa Mail letterboxes overflow each year with wishes from believers, and this year, the wishes shared online will not only raise funds for Make-A-Wish, but will also help as Macy’s participates in a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS official attempt for the longest wish list to Santa.”
“Our friends at Macy’s make helping wish kids with life-threatening medical conditions as simple and fun as writing a letter to Santa,” said David Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “We encourage believers and families across the country to join together this holiday season to mail or submit their letters to help us grant even more life-changing wishes, because we know that a wish-come-true can be a powerful part of a child’s fight against their illness.”
Macy’s Believe campaign was inspired by the true story of 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, who wrote a letter to the New York Sun newspaper in 1897 asking if there really was a Santa Claus. The paper’s response, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist …,” penned by its editor Francis P. Church, became the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language.
Key elements for the 2014 Macy’s Believe campaign will include:
Believe Sitelet & World’s Longest Wish List to Santa
This year’s Believe letter campaign introduces the exciting new element of online letter collection to benefit Make-A-Wish. Customers can drop their stamped letter to Santa at their local Macy’s, or create their letter online by visiting the Believe sitelet at macys.com/believe to be counted toward the 1 million letter goal. Those who create their letters at macys.com/believe will also have the opportunity to participate in Macy’s GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS official attempt for the longest wish list to Santa. The previous record was set in 2012 with 75,954 wishes.
Macys.com/believe also includes helpful Believe resources including event listings and location information of local Santa Mail letterboxes. Educators can also visit the sitelet to download the Believe Activity Guide, a toolkit available in English or Spanish for those who would like to use Believe as a writing lesson or activity during the holiday season.
National Believe Day
Macy’s has declared Friday, Dec. 12 as the sixth annual National Believe Day – a day devoted to encouraging the nation to embrace the season’s spirit of generosity and kindness toward others. Macy’s will celebrate with the “Wishes Across America” program in partnership with Make-A-Wish, helping to grant wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions from coast-to-coast.
“Yes, Virginia” Animated Special
The beloved “Yes, Virginia” animated holiday television special will return this season telling the charming story of little Virginia O’Hanlon as she and her friends set out to prove that Santa is real. The award-winning half-hour holiday program features an all-star cast of voices that includes Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alfred Molina, and Beatrice Miller in the title role. When “Yes, Virginia” debuted in 2009, it helped to make a wish come true for then 11-year-old Make-A-Wish recipient Taylor Hay, whose voice and likeness were captured for one of the characters.
“Yes, Virginia,” presented by Macy’s, will air on CBS on Friday, Nov. 28, at 9:30 p.m. ET (check local listings).
The Hispanic adaptation of the program entitled “Si, Virginia. Un Cuento Navideño” will air on Saturday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. ET on Univision. The special features a cast of voices from some of the most beloved entertainers in Hispanic America, including Don Francisco, Giselle Blondet, Blanca Soto, Ernesto LaGuardia and Gaby Borges in the title role.
“Yes, Virginia The Musical”
The heartwarming production “Yes, Virginia The Musical” will return to school stages again this holiday season with performances taking place at elementary and middle schools nationwide. Macy’s launched the program in 2012, offering the script and score royalty-free to all schools and providing a digital toolkit with helpful reference material. In support of arts and music education, Macy’s has also offered $1,000 grants to 100 schools each year to support their local productions. Grant recipient schools put their funds to use to purchase everything from costumes and set materials to sound and lighting equipment. For more information about “Yes, Virginia The Musical” or to find a performance in your area, please visit yesvirginiamusical.com.
Believe and “Yes, Virginia” Merchandise
In addition to participating in the Believe letter collection drive, customers can give back to Make-A-Wish by visiting Macy’s stores or macys.com and purchasing the “Yes, Virginia” illustrated storybook or animated special DVD. Ten percent of the purchase price of each book and DVD sold will be donated to Make-A-Wish. Believe and “Yes, Virginia” holiday trimmings, which include a new Virginia doll, ornaments and stockings, also are available at select stores and at macys.com/believe.
Believe and Virginia Take Flight
Millions of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade® viewers will ring in the holiday this year with their favorite Macy’s star as the Virginia balloon returns to the lineup along with the larger than life Believe red star balloons.
“Yes, Virginia” was created and produced by Macy's and JWT in conjunction with The Ebeling Group and MEC Entertainment, a division of Mediaedge:cia. “Yes, Virginia The Musical” was adapted from the animated special and storybook by Chris Plehal, by Wesley Whatley (music) and William Schermerhorn (book and lyrics), the Emmy® Award-winning team that created the original song “Yes, Virginia (There is a Santa Claus).”
Macy's, the largest retail brand of Macy's, Inc. (NYSE:M), delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at approximately 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, as well as to customers in the U.S. and more than 100 international destinations through its leading online store at macys.com. Via its stores, e-commerce site, mobile and social platforms, Macy's offers distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy's is known for such epic events as Macy's 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Macy's flagship stores including Herald Square in New York City, Union Square in San Francisco, State Street in Chicago, Dadeland in Miami and South Coast Plaza in southern California are known internationally and leading destinations for visitors. Building on a more than 150-year tradition, and with the collective support of customers and employees, Macy's helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities giving more than $70 million each year to help make a difference in the lives of our customers.
Make-A-Wish® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 38 minutes. It has granted more than 240,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 14,000 in 2013 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org to learn more.