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Macy's Believe campaign for Make-A-Wish

Dec '08
Macy's announced a $1 million donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation from the department store retailer's nostalgic holiday Believe campaign. Based on the New York Sun's famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial, the Macy's campaign featured in-store “Believe Stations” which invited children of all ages to drop their stamped letters to Santa with a $1 donation from Macy's for each letter up to $1 million.

“We are truly grateful to Macy's for creating the Believe campaign and for this wonderful contribution. This will help us grant the wishes of so many deserving children with life-threatening medical conditions,” said David Williams, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America president and chief executive officer. “The Make-A-Wish Foundation also appreciates the generosity of everyone across the country who got into the holiday spirit and brought their letters to Macy's to help us receive the $1 million donation.”

Known worldwide for holiday traditions from the Thanksgiving Day Parade to the first in-store Santa, Macy's launched the Believe campaign in early November. The program included Believe Stations in every Macy's store complete with a Believe Meter, letter-writing station and an official R.H. Macy Santa Mail letterbox. Children and adults across the country were 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 pledged to donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation up to $1 million to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“We are absolutely thrilled to announce a $1 million donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation through our Believe letter campaign,” said Peter Sachse, president of Macy's Corporate Marketing. “We have been overwhelmed by our customer's response to this effort, including by schools and communities that orchestrated large letter writing campaigns. The remarkable spirit of giving demonstrated by our associates, children and families throughout the country, will allow us to help the Make-A-Wish Foundation continue its good work during this special season and beyond.”

The Believe campaign was rooted in a letter to the editor written by 8-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 lines, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist…”

The Believe advertising campaign included full-page reprints of the “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial and disrupter print ads (ads which break into editorial space), as well as a television campaign featuring 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 featured Santana, Ana de la Reguera and Carlos Ponce.

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