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Building on "Believe" Effort This Holiday Season, Macy's Announces a National Santa Tour, National Believe Day and "Yes, Virginia" Animated Special

Yes, Virginia, a new animated holiday special, will air on CBS on Friday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. ET. (Graphic: Business Wire)

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 28, 2009-- Building on the great success of last year’s inaugural “Believe” campaign, Macy’s (NYSE: M) today announced exciting new elements of this year’s holiday effort to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. This year, Macy’s is adding to the spirit of “Believe” with a national Santa Tour, an honorary National Believe Day, a “Yes, Virginia” animated special, a new TV commercial featuring Queen Latifah, and an interactive Believe Web site at macys.com/believe. The nostalgic holiday campaign was inspired by the New York Sun’s famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial from 1897 and includes letter-writing “Believe Stations” in Macy’s stores across the country with Macy’s making a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for each letter deposited in Macy’s Santa Mail, up to $1 million.

“Macy’s Believe effort really inspired people last holiday, and customers and communities across the country responded in a big way,” said Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief marketing officer. “Not only did we collect more than a million letters and hit our $1 million goal for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but we saw wonderful and unexpected examples of schools and communities coordinating letter drives to help support this effort. To build on that excitement this year, Macy’s Believe campaign will layer on new elements including taking Macy’s Santa on tour, designating a special Believe Day to celebrate the holiday spirit, and premiering a new animated holiday special that tells the ‘Yes, Virginia’ story. This holiday, America will be inspired to Believe again.”

Beginning on November 6, 2009, believers of all ages are invited to drop off 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 Make-A-Wish Foundation is proud to join with Macy’s to make wishes come true through the Believe campaign,” said David Williams, President and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “It inspires people to embrace the generosity of the season and think hopefully about the future. Believe ties in perfectly with our mission to grant the heartfelt wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and we appreciate the support of Macy’s and everyone who takes part in the campaign.”

New Believe elements this year include:

    Macy’s “The Trek” TV Commercial (breaks Nov. 6) – The Believe advertising campaign will break on Friday, November 6, with a new national television spot featuring Macy’s star Queen Latifah. The spot, called “The Trek” features Virginia making the trip from her home to Macy’s, where Queen Latifah helps her mail her letter to Santa. A Spanish-language version will feature Carlos Ponce.

    Macy’s National Santa Tour (Kicks off Nov. 28) – A new and exciting element to the Believe campaign is Macy’s Santa Tour. Following his celebratory kickoff of the holiday season in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Santa will embark on a whirlwind tour across America, greeting young boys and girls and spreading holiday joy. Stopping in 25 cities across the U.S., Santa’s National Tour will give children the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the man himself. Visit www.macys.com/believe (site goes live Nov. 6) for scheduled stops and to track Santa’s latest location.

    National Believe Day / “Yes, Virginia” Animated Special (Dec. 11) – On Friday, December 11, Macy’s will celebrate the first National Believe Day to recognize and reward acts of kindness and generosity from coast to coast. Also that day, CBS will premiere a new original animated special called, “Yes, Virginia.” Building on the story of 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the editor of the New York Sun in 1897, the holiday special takes us on a charming adventure about the existence of Santa Claus and the curiosity amongst believers. During the creation of “Yes, Virginia,” a special wish was fulfilled for 10-year-old Wish kid Taylor Hay – whose voice and likeness were captured for one of the characters. The new half-hour holiday program will air on CBS on Friday, December 11, at 8 p.m. ET. “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.

  • “Believe” Activity Guide – Based on the enormous response from schools and teachers last year, Macy’s and the Make-A-Wish Foundation have created a downloadable online toolkit to facilitate interest from teachers and schools that would like to use “Believe” as a writing lesson or activity during the holiday season. The toolkit – including a Santa letter template, coloring sheet and “I Believe” bookmark cut-out – can be found on macys.com/believe.

  • Tell Us Why You Believe – Also new on macys.com/believe is a “Tell Us Why You Believe” contest that invites visitors to submit either a short essay or video telling the world why they believe. People can vote on the entries, with the two winners (one essay and one video) enjoying a very special VIP trip to the 2010 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. To measure activity, the site will feature a working Believe Meter map that inches higher every time an essay or video is submitted. Voters have a chance to win a sweepstakes too!

  • Santa Tour Tracker – Macy’s Believe microsite will also feature a map with Santa’s whirlwind tour schedule. All Santa stop details will be listed here for believers of all ages wanting to meet the man himself.
The Believe campaign is rooted in a letter to the editor written by 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon in 1897 asking if there is a Santa Claus. The New York Sun 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…”

The Believe campaign launches on November 6 and runs through December 24. For Believers who want to help make a difference, just look for the Believe Stations in every store that feature a Believe Meter, letter-writing station and an official R.H. Macy’s Santa Mail letterbox.


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About Macy’s
Macy's, the largest retail brand of Macy's, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at more than 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Macy's stores and macys.com offer 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. Building on a 150-year tradition, Macy's helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities that make a difference in the lives of our customers.

About the Make-A-Wish Foundation
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 65 chapters in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes and has granted more than 185,000 wishes in the United States since its inception. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.