YES, VIRGINIA by J. Walter Thompson New York for Macy's

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YES, VIRGINIA

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Industry Supermarkets
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency J. Walter Thompson New York
Director Pete Circuitt
Executive Creative Director Wayne Best
Creative Director Matt Macdonald
Art Director Jim Wood
Producer Kallan Kagan, Kate Schwerin
Released December 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Television
Advertiser: MACY'S
Product/Service: DEPARTMENT STORE
Agency: JWT
Date of First Appearance: Dec 11 2009 12:00AM
Entrant Company: JWT, New York, USA
Writer: Chris Plehal (JWT New York)
Producer: Kallan Kagan (The Ebeling Group)
Producer: Kate Schwerin (JWT New York)
Executive Producer: Robin Feldman (JWT New York)
Executive Creative Director: Wayne Best (JWT New York)
Creative Director: Matt MacDonald (JWT New York)
Music: Nicholas Hooper (Cool Music)
Director: Pete Circuitt (Bitstate)
Exectuive Producer: Dexton Deboree (The Ebeling Group)
Executive Producer: Mick Ebeling (The Ebeling Group)
Chief Creative Officer: Harvey Marco (JWT New York)
Chief Creative Officer: Ty Montague (JWT North America)
Account Director: Helena Touseull (JWT New York)
Art Director: Jim Wood (JWT New York)
Director of Integrated Production: Clair Grupp (JWT New York)
Global Account Director: Beth Waxman-Arteta (JWT New York)
Director of Brand Production: Joe Calabrese (JWT New York)
Executive Producer: Joe Fezcko (Macy's)
Consulting Producer: Betsy Spence (Macy's)
Media placement: 30"/63" Trailers - Youtube.com, Macys.com, Facebook.com, Yesvirginiatv.com - 20/11/2009
Media placement: Media Launch Event - Original Home Of Virginia O'Hanlon - 05/12/2009
Media placement: Show Poster - Macy's In-Store/ Media Event/ Press Kit - 05/12/2009
Media placement: Website - Yesvirginiatv.com - 11/12/2009
Media placement: B-Roll/In-Program Media Announcements - CBS Early Show, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, Access Hollywood - 4-11 December 2009
Results and Effectiveness
On the night of the show, “Yes, Virginia” reached more than 3.7 million viewers and was Google’s No. 1 and No.4 hottest search terms. It made TV Guide’s coveted Hot List. USA Today said, “Like Santa himself, Virginia should be a welcome Christmas visitor for years to come.” The Parents Television Council named it the Best TV Show of the Week. Holiday sales for the five-week period ending Jan. 2, 2010 achieved Macy’s sales goals: $4.4 billion in sales, 1% growth in same-store sales and 29% growth of Macys.com.
Creative Execution
On December 11th, the true story of “Yes, Virginia” aired, a 30-minute animated Christmas special that was pitched and sold to CBS, and premiered in primetime. In just 37 weeks, half the production schedule of a typical animated show, we created a living, breathing New York City, circa 1897. We invented a motley cast of characters to help Virginia on her quest, and hired some famous voices to bring them to life. The show incorporated elements of the “Believe” Campaign, through the “Believe Meter” and the red holiday mailboxes. But more importantly, we crafted a story around our campaign’s message, the importance and power of believing.
Insights, Strategy & the Idea
In 1897 a little girl named Virginia, wrote a letter to the New York Sun, asking if Santa Claus was real. The newspaper's response remains one of the most famous editorials in history, “Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus...”. Fast-forward to 2008, the Yes, Virginia editorial inspires “Believe”, a holiday campaign for Macy's. Quoting those famous words, we asked Americans to prove they believe by writing their own letter to Santa Claus and mailing it at any Macy's nationwide. Believe Meters across the country tracked the progress, and by Christmas 2008 had collected over 1.1 million letters. Our challenge for 2009 was to build on that success. We knew we could inspire more people to believe if we told Virginia's story beyond the confines of traditional advertising.