Macy's Case study YES, VIRGINIA: BUILDING AN ENTERTAINMENT BRAND by J. Walter Thompson New York



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Industry Department Stores & Shopping Malls
Media Case study
Market United States
Agency J. Walter Thompson New York
Creative Director Lea Ladera
Art Director Joseph Merkley
Released February 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Titanium and Integrated
Advertiser: MACY'S
Product/Service: MACY'S
Date of First Appearance: Nov 1 2010
Chief Creative Officer: Peter Nicholson (JWT New York)
Executive Creative Directors: Matt MacDonald/Wayne Best (JWT New York)
Creative Director: Lea Ladera (JWT New York)
Art Director: Joseph Merkley (JWT New York)
Copywriters: Chris Plehal/Emily Sander (JWT New York)
Head of Art: Aaron Padin (JWT New York)
Planners: Lauren Turner/Mylene Ong (JWT New York)
Director of Integrated Production: Clair Grupp (JWT New York)
Director of Brand Production: Joe Calabrese (JWT New York)
Director of Brand Entertainment: Mike Wiese (JWT New York)
Producers: Robin Feldman/Kate Schwerin/Holly Otto/Kiri Carch (JWT New York)
Account Executives: Claire Capeci/Helena Touseull/Abby Leber/Kate Reaves/Stephanie Reedy (JWT New York)
Director (Yes, Virginia): Pete Circuitt (Bitstate)
Production Company (Yes, Virginia): (The Ebeling Group/Starz)
Production Company (CBS Early Show animated interview): (Quiet Man)
Production Company (Window displays): (The Spark Group)
Director (Window displays): Paul Olszewski (Macy's)
Publishing Company (Yes, Virginia book): (Harper Collins)
Yes, Virginia Balloon: (Macy's Parade & Entertainment Group)
Media Agency: (MEC)
Media placement: TV Spot - "Tower" - National Network And Cable - 1 November 2010
Media placement: Microsite - Through - 1 November 2010
Media placement: Merchandise Available - Macy's Stores, - 1 November 2010
Media placement: Outdoor/Ambient - Window Displays - Macy's Stores In 7 Major US Cities - 18 November 2010
Media placement: Outdoor Stunt - Thanksgiving Day Parade - Broadcast On NBC - 25 November 2010
Media placement: Animated Interview - Broadcast On CBS - 17 December 2010

Describe the campaign/entry
In 2009, we set out to dial up Macy’s holiday campaign "Believe." So we brought the message of believing to life with Yes, Virginia, a 30-minute animated television special inspired by the famous NY Sun editorial, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." And it was a huge success. So in 2010, we set out make Virginia an icon for Macy’s that could live for years. To do this, we had one goal: to transform her from a one-time holiday special into an entertainment brand.

Describe how the campaign/entry was launched across each channel in the order of implementation
Transforming Virginia into an entertainment brand required starting big. And there’s nothing bigger at the holidays than the Thanksgiving Day Parade, where Virginia debuted as a larger-than-life balloon.
Next, we told her complete story through the iconic windows of seven major market Macy’s stores nationwide.
Around the same time, we released Yes, Virginia on DVD, as an original book and as decorative ornaments for the holiday. Finally, to complete her transition into the world of pop culture, we hit the talk show circuit. Using the latest technology to bring her from the animated world to the real world, she sat down for a nearly four-minute interview on CBS Early Morning with Harry Smith.

Give some idea of how successful this campaign/entry was with both client and consumer

Virginia’s charm was undeniable. Entertainment Weekly named her one of the eight highlights of the parade, which was seen by over 44 million viewers. Her window displays drew hundreds of thousands of onlookers; and her interview on CBS engaged 2.9 million more.
In the end, the second year of her show took first in its time slot on America’s biggest broadcast network. Her DVD sold out in Macy’s stores across the country. And thanks to Virginia, Macy’s social media power grew, posting a 58% increase in Facebook fans and a 176% increase in Twitter followers. Meanwhile, earned media impressions for "Believe" went up 20% from the previous year’s already high levels. In the end, Yes, Virginia established itself as a strong brand and franchise for Macy’s with total sales of related merchandise exceeding $1 million.