Macy’s Celebrates the Fifth Anniversary of “Believe” Holiday Campaign to Benefit Make-A-Wish

From a school musical to a popular animated special and Santa bus tour, Macy’s is spreading the message of generosity through its beloved holiday campaign asking to mail your letter to Santa to benefit Make-A-Wish®

Macy’s provides $100,000 in grants to support local performances of “Yes, Virginia The Musical” at 100 schools across the country

Macy's presents "Yes, Virginia The Musical" world premiere performance by Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center (Photo: Business Wire)

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NEW YORK--()--This holiday season, Macy’s will reprise its annual Believe campaign, bringing tidings of joy and goodwill to customers nationwide and lending support to Make-A-Wish. As in previous years, Macy’s invites believers of all ages to bring their stamped letters to Santa to their local Macy’s, and for each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. Macy’s has donated nearly $5 million to Make-A-Wish over the first four years of its Believe campaign, helping make wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions. In celebration of the fifth anniversary, Macy’s is introducing a school musical program, while bringing back signature initiatives like the National Santa Tour with stops in 26 cities, and National Believe Day, which will be celebrated on Dec. 14. Through the support of its devoted customers, Macy’s “Believe” meters and Santa Mail letterboxes will overflow in this pure celebration of the magic of the holiday season.

“This year marks a milestone as we celebrate the fifth anniversary of our popular Believe campaign,” said Martine Reardon, chief marketing officer for Macy’s. “Since we introduced this nostalgic holiday program, our customers have responded enthusiastically. By providing Macy’s with millions of letters to Santa, they have encouraged Macy’s in its donation of nearly $5 million to Make-A-Wish through Believe, thereby impacting positively on countless lives through wish-fulfillments for children. Through this year’s entertaining and engaging new elements, we hope participation in the 2012 program will be greater than ever.”

Macy’s Believe campaign was inspired by the true story of 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, who, in 1897, wrote a letter to the New York Sun newspaper asking if there was a Santa Claus. The Sun’s editor, Francis P. Church, responded with a poignantly-worded essay on the importance of believing that included the now famous lines “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist …” His response proved to be one of the most famous newspaper editorials of all time and continues to capture the childhood wonder and hope that exists within us all. This holiday season, Macy’s again invites its customers to share in this spirit of belief and generosity by visiting their local Macy’s store where they can drop their stamped letters, addressed to Santa At The North Pole, in special Santa Mail letterboxes. For each letter received from Nov. 2 to Dec. 24, Macy’s will donate $1, up to $1 million, to Make-A-Wish, helping to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“Writing a letter to Santa and delivering it to your local Macy’s store is a quick, simple and fun way to help wishes come true this holiday season. We are confident that kids and kids-at-heart will make this a record-setting year for the Believe campaign,” said David A. Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “We are thankful for Macy’s continued support and dedication to creating memorable, life-lasting wish experiences that help wish kids feel better and sometimes even get better.

Key elements from the fifth annual Macy’s Believe campaign for 2012 will include:

“Yes, Virginia The Musical”

This holiday season, Virginia is making the leap from the small screen to school stages through “Yes, Virginia The Musical.” These productions will bring the heart-warming story to new audiences with more than 100 local performances being planned in schools nationwide. From California to Florida, Vermont to Texas, and all points in between, families will follow Virginia and her friends through a song-filled adventure to prove Santa really does exist. To help inspire and inform participating schools, Macy’s has provided an interactive, digital toolkit at yesvirginiamusical.com, which is equipped with downloadable scripts and scores, production reference materials and helpful videos that feature celebrities and the team at renowned acting camp, Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center. In support of art and music education, Macy’s has made the script and score for “Yes, Virginia The Musical” available on a royalty- free basis to all schools, and has awarded a total of $100,000 in grants to 100 schools* to help fund their productions of the musical. For more information about local performances of “Yes, Virginia The Musical,” as well as a list of schools that received a grant, visit yesvirginiamusical.com, and click “See The Show.”

Macy’s National Santa Tour with Holiday Happiness Provided by Aflac

Macy’s and Aflac will partner again this year as the National Santa Tour hits the road, bringing holiday happiness to 26 cities,** coast-to-coast. Santa and his entourage of elves will board the festive, branded tour bus during this fourth annual whirlwind tour, which kicks off on Nov. 24. Come see Santa to tell him what is on your wish list and meet Virginia, who is joining the tour for the first time! Plus, for those families that want to take a little holiday happiness home, the official Aflac Holiday Duck is available for purchase in Macy’s stores nationwide and on macys.com. For the full National Santa Tour schedule, visit macys.com/holidayevents.

National Believe Day

In what has become a high point of Macy’s Believe campaign, Macy’s has declared Friday, Dec. 14 as “National Believe Day” for 2012. Once again, Macy’s will call Americans to action in celebration of the holiday season’s message of generosity and goodwill. Additional details about this very special day will be released as National Believe Day approaches.

“Yes, Virginia” Animated Special

An instant holiday classic since its 2009 debut, the award-winning “Yes, Virginia” animated special takes viewers on a magical journey as they follow young Virginia O’Hanlon on her adventure to discover the truth about the existence of Santa Claus. The half-hour holiday program features an all-star cast of voices that includes Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alfred Molina and Beatrice Miller in the title role. In addition to capturing the hearts of viewers across the country, this charming holiday special helped a special wish come true for then 11-year-old Make-A-Wish recipient Taylor Hay, whose voice and likeness were captured for one of the characters.

Presented by Macy’s, “Yes, Virginia” will air on CBS on National Believe Day, Friday, Dec. 14, at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings). For the first time this year, a Spanish-language adaptation of “Yes, Virginia” will also air on Univision on Dec. 23.

“Believe” and “Yes, Virginia” Merchandise

A “Yes, Virginia” illustrated storybook and DVD of the animated special will be available exclusively in select Macy’s stores and on macys.com again this holiday season. While helping to spread the tale’s inspiring message, purchases also will help to make children’s wishes come true because 10 percent of the purchase price of each book and DVD sold will be donated to Make-A-Wish. New this year, believers can purchase the Virginia plush doll modeled on the animated character. “Believe” and “Yes, Virginia” holiday trimmings, which include ornaments and stockings, also are available for customers looking to take home a bit of Macy’s holiday magic.

Virginia Balloon

The Virginia balloon will soar down the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade® route again this year, marking her third appearance in the lineup. With her letter to the New York Sun in-hand, the adorable Virginia will glide down the streets of New York City as she reminds us all to believe.

“Believe” Sitelet and Activity Guide

Macys.com/Believe is your destination for the latest information about this year’s Believe campaign. Create and decorate a letter you can print and bring to your local Macy’s, learn more about the story of “Yes, Virginia,” or find a local Santa Mail letterbox. Also available is the “Believe” Activity Guide, a downloadable, online toolkit in English or Spanish for teachers and schools that would like to use “Believe” as a writing lesson or activity during the holiday season.

Macy’s fifth annual Believe campaign launched on Nov. 2 and runs through Dec. 24. You can help Macy’s collect a million reasons to believe by dropping your letter to Santa at your local Macy’s Santa Mail letterbox.

“Yes, Virginia” was created and produced by Macy's and JWT in conjunction with The Ebeling Group and MEC Entertainment, a division of Mediaedge:cia. “Yes, Virginia The Musical” was adapted from the animated special and storybook by Chris Plehal, by Wesley Whatley (music) and William Schermerhorn (book and lyrics), the Emmy® Award-winning creative team behind the original song “Yes, Virginia (There is a Santa Claus).”

Editor’s Note: For Macy’s “Believe” campaign media materials, including images, please visit: magicbulletmedia.com/MNR/MacysHoliday2012. For more information about Macy’s “Believe” campaign and National Believe Day, visit macys.com/believe.

*“Yes, Virginia The Musical” Grant Recipient Schools (as of 11/9/12)

Albany, GA – Sherwood Christian Academy     McKinney, KY – McKinney Elementary
Alexandria, KY – Campbell Ridge Elementary School Melbourne, FL – Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy
Bluffton, SC – H.E. McCracken Middle School Miami, FL – Archimedean Middle Conservatory
Bowie, MD – Yorktown Elementary School Mint Hill, NC – Queen's Grant Community School
Brooklyn, NY – P.S. 277 Monroe, GA – Carver Middle School
Burgin, KY – Burgin Independent School Monroe, NC – Parkwood Middle School
Calhoun, KY – McLean County Middle School Choir Morgan Hill, CA – St. Catherine School
Cambria Heights, NY – P.S. 176 Queens Cambria Morgantown, KY – Morgantown Elementary School
Heights School Mount Rainier, MD – Mount Rainier Elementary
Carteret, NJ – St. Joseph School New York, NY – St. Stephen of Hungary School
Catlettsburg, KY – Catlettsburg Elementary Newport, KY – Newport Middle School
Chicago, IL – Elizabeth Peabody Elementary School Nicholasville, KY – West Jessamine Middle School
Cincinnati, OH – Carson School Nicholasville, KY – Nicholasville Elementary School
Cincinnati, OH – Midway School North Salt Lake, UT – Orchard Elementary
Coconut Creek, FL – The Randazzo School North Stonington, CT – North Stonington Elementary School
Covington, KY – Fort Wright Elementary Ocala, FL – Howard Middle School
Dalton, GA – Valley Point Middle School Oceanside, CA – Lincoln Middle School
Deland, FL – Freedom Elementary School Orlando, FL – Andover Elementary School
Deltona, FL – Discovery Elementary Orlando, FL – Howard Middle School
Deputy, IN – Deputy Elementary School Osteen, FL – Osteen Elementary School
Derby Line, VT – Holland Elementary School Oxford, GA – Providence Classical Christian School
Detroit, MI – Detroit Enterprise Academy Palm Springs, FL – St. Luke Catholic School
Douglasville, GA – Chapel Hill Middle School Parker, CO – Charter to Excellence Charter School
Duvall, WA – Eagle Rock Multi Age Pasadena, TX – Morales Elementary School
East Canton, OH – East Canton Elementary School Pepin, WI – Pepin Elementary
East Dover, VT – Dover Elementary School Pittsburgh, PA– Keystone Oaks School District
Edinburg, TX – De la Vina Elementary Port Aransas, TX – H.G. Olsen Elementary
Elizabeth City, NC – Sheep Harney Elementary School Port Orange, FL – Cypress Creek Elementary
Englewood, CO – Charles Hay World School Provo, UT – Edgemont Elementary TREE House Program
Fort Washington, MD – Oxon Hill Middle School Ramer, TN – Ramer Elementary School
Fort Wayne, IN – Miami Middle School Readsboro, VT – Readsboro Central School
Galivants Ferry, SC – Aynor Middle School Reno, NV – Billinghurst Middle School
Georgetown, KY – Georgetown Middle School Roy, UT – Lakeview Elementary School
Gilman, VT – Gilman Middle School Saint George, UT – Bloomington Hills Elementary
Green Bay, WI – Holy Family School Saltillo, MS – Saltillo Elementary School
Greenbelt, MD – Greenbelt Middle School San Antonio, TX – Pat Neff Middle School
Gretna, LA – Ruppel Academy of Advanced Studies Savage, MN – Saint John the Baptist Catholic School
Hampstead, NC – North Topsail Elementary School Sierra Madre, CA – Sierra Madre Elementary
Hereford, TX – Northwest Elementary South Daytona, FL – South Daytona Elementary
Hillsboro, OR – Eastwood Elementary School Spanish Fork, UT – Park Elementary
Hopewell Junction, NY – Saint Denis-Saint Columba School Springfield, OR – Mount Vernon Elementary School
Houston, TX – Ridgecrest Elementary School Sylacauga, AL – Nichols Lawson Middle School
Huntington, WV – Peyton Elementary Tucson, AZ – Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic School
Jerome, ID – Summit Elementary School Visalia, CA – Pro-Youth / HEART After School Program
Kailua Kona, HI – Hualalai Academy Walls, MS – Walls Elementary School
Kingston Springs, TN – Kingston Springs Elementary Waxhaw, NC – Kensington Elementary School
Kitty Hawk, NC – Kitty Hawk Elementary School Waxhaw, NC – Marvin Ridge Middle School
Laramie, WY– University of Wyoming Laboratory School Wendover, UT – Anna Smith School
Lawrenceburg, KY – Saffell Street Elementary School Windsor, VA – Windsor Elementary School
Madison, IN – Emery Owen Muncie Elementary Worcester, MA – Vernon Hill School
Massillon, OH – Amherst Elementary
 

**Cities for Macy’s Santa Tour (not in date order):

Appleton, WI       Montgomery, MD
Birmingham, AL Naples, FL
Bozeman, MT Phoenix, AZ
Buffalo, NY Port Huron, MI
Christiana, DE Providence, RI
Chula Vista, CA Richmond, VA
Dallas, TX Rockford, IL
Denver, CO Sacramento, CA
Fargo, ND Salt Lake City, UT
Holyoke, MA Santa Ana, CA
Hyannis, MA St. Louis, MO
Kennesaw, GA Tulsa, OK
Memphis, TN Twin Falls, ID
 

About Macy’s

Macy's, the largest retail brand of Macy's, Inc. (NYSE:M), delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at more than 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Macy's stores and macys.com offer distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy's is known for such epic events as Macy's 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Building on a 150-year tradition, Macy's helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities that make a difference in the lives of our customers.

About Make-A-Wish

Make-A-Wish® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 38 minutes. It has granted more than 212,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; nearly 14,000 in 2011 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50472800&lang=en

Contacts

Macy’s
Julie Strider, Media Relations, 646-429-5213
julie.strider@macys.com
or
Kristina DeGrocco, Media Relations, 646-429-7470
kristina.degrocco@macys.com

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Contacts

Macy’s
Julie Strider, Media Relations, 646-429-5213
julie.strider@macys.com
or
Kristina DeGrocco, Media Relations, 646-429-7470
kristina.degrocco@macys.com