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

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YES, VIRGINIA: BUILDING AN ENTERTAINMENT BRAND

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

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Experiential Marketing in a Promotional Campaign
Advertiser: MACY'S
Product/Service: DEPARTMENT STORE
Agency: JWT NEW YORK
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 Macys.com - 1 November 2010
Media placement: Merchandise Available - Macy's Stores, Macys.com - 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 objective of the promotion.
In 2009, Macy’s brought “Believe,” their holiday campaign, to life with Yes, Virginia, a 30-minute animated network 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 to transform Yes, Virginia from a one-time special to an entertainment brand Macy’s could embrace for years.

Describe how the promotion developed from concept to implementation.
The holidays already have icons. Notably, a man in a red suit. So to get Virginia noticed, we decided to make her a central element throughout the season. And what’s more iconic than a debut in the Thanksgiving Day Parade? From there, we worked closely with production partners to amplify her presence. This led us to tell her complete story in Macy’s windows across the country. And, nearing her show’s airing, we even dove into new technology to bring her animated character to the real world for a 4-minute interview on CBS Early Morning.

Explain why the method of promotion was most relevant to the product or service.
In order to become a holiday entertainment brand, it’s important to become part of holiday entertainment itself. By incorporating Virginia into such favourite traditions as the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the window displays at Macy’s, she was able to become culturally relevant beyond the show. Then, with Virginia’s appearance on the talk show circuit, she secured a spot in pop culture as well. Together, these promotions wove Yes, Virginia into the shared experience and celebration of the holidays.

Describe the success of the promotion with both client and consumer including some quantifiable results.
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. Her CBS interview engaged 2.9 million more. 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. 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.