Macy's Design & Branding YES, VIRGINIA: BUILDING AN ENTERTAINMENT BRAND by J. Walter Thompson New York

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Industry Department Stores & Shopping Malls
Media Design & Branding
Market United States
Agency J. Walter Thompson New York
Creative Director Lea Ladera
Art Director Joseph Merkley
Released November 2010

Credits & Description

Category: Consumer Services
Advertiser: MACY'S
Product/Service: MACY'S
Date of First Appearance: Nov 1 2010
Entrant Company: JWT NEW YORK, USA
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 brief from the client
In 2009, the message behind Macy’s holiday campaign “Believe” came to life with Yes, Virginia, a 30-minute animated television special inspired by the famous editorial, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” It’s success led us in 2010 to dial up Virginia’s presence for Macy’s and transform her from a one-time special to an entertainment brand.

Describe the challenges and key objectives
The holidays are filled with culture and tradition. So to establish Virginia’s place in the season, we needed to seamlessly weave her into its fabric. This led us to find iconic events where she could live, like the Thanksgiving Day Parade and in 40 holiday window displays across 7 major cities. By doing this, and staying close to the charm of the original animation, we could establish her as a new holiday tradition that children and families could look forward to for years to come.

Describe how you arrived at the final design
It was essential that we stayed true to the aesthetic feel of Yes, Virginia, the animated special. The show’s characters, settings and style of animation provided the foundation upon which we brought Virginia and her story to life in three-dimensional worlds. In fact, the window displays were made entirely of paper, befitting a holiday tale that originated from a letter.

Give some indication of how successful the outcome was in the market
Virginia’s charm was undeniable. Entertainment Weekly named her one of the eight highlights of the parade, which saw over 44 million viewers. Her window displays drew hundreds of thousands of onlookers. Her CBS interview engaged 2.9 million more. The second year, her show took first in its time slot on America’s biggest broadcast network. Her DVD sold out of Macy’s. And thanks to Yes, Virginia, Macy’s social media power posted a 58% increase in Facebook fans and a 176% increase in Twitter followers. In the end, Virginia became a brand with sales of related merchandise exceeding $1 million.