Macy's Introduces Augmented Reality Experience in Stores across Country as Part of Its 2011 "Believe" Campaign

New elements of the annual campaign benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation(R) include technology that brings "Yes, Virginia" characters to life and a one-of-a-kind celebrity tree auction

NEW YORK, Nov 02, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) --

Macy's (NYSE:M) today announced the launch of "Believe," the retailer's annual national holiday effort to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Building on the campaign's unprecedented success collecting more than four million letters in the first three years, Macy's will again ask customers to mail their letters to Santa at Macy's to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. New this year, customers mailing their letters at Macy's "Believe Stations" in-store can take photos with the campaign's animated stars, Virginia, Ollie and their friends through the magic of Macy's and augmented reality technology. Additional efforts include Macy's Celebrity Tree Auction to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, sending Santa on the road for the National Santa Tour and celebrating the campaign's annual National Believe Day on Dec. 9. Macy's Believe campaign kicks off the first Sunday in November.

The nostalgic holiday campaign is inspired by the New York Sun's famous "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial from 1897. Starting Nov. 6, Macy's stores across the country will feature letter-writing Believe Stations and Santa Mail letterboxes for believers of all ages to write and drop off letters - stamped and addressed to Santa At The North Pole. For each letter received, Macy's will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $1 million, to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

"Macy's Believe campaign has become a beloved holiday tradition for our customers nationwide," said Martine Reardon, Macy's executive vice president of marketing. "With their help, we collected more than a million letters last year and donated more than a million dollars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year, we hope to inspire even more goodwill and generosity by building on traditions we've created in previous seasons and introducing exciting new elements that will make believing all the more fun and interactive for our customers and their families."

"Macy's and its customers play an important role in helping the Make-A-Wish Foundation grant wishes that make lives better for wish kids, families and communities across the country," said David Williams, president and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. "Every year, the Macy's Believe campaign offers an assortment of ways for people to celebrate the holidays, give to loved ones, and help create life-changing experiences for kids with life-threatening medical conditions in their communities."

Believe elements this year include:

"Macy's Believe-o-Magic" Augmented Reality Technology (In store Nov. 6)
For the first time, customers mailing their letters at Believe Stations in Macy's stores will have an opportunity to take a photo with the campaign's animated stars Virginia and Ollie from the animated holiday special "Yes, Virginia." Using new augmented reality technology, customers with IOS and select Android smartphones can download the "Macy's Believe-o-Magic" application that allows them to unlock the magic to see and interact with Virginia, Ollie and their friends. Customers can step in the frame and take a photo, which can also be uploaded into a holiday card template to share via e-mail or Facebook. Customers can also preview the magic at home by downloading the application and printing out the marker. When they point "Macy's Believe-o-Magic" camera at the marker, they can see an animated Virginia ice skating right in their homes! "Macy's Believe-o-Magic" app was created and produced by Macy's and JWT in conjunction with Metaio GmbH and The Ebeling Group.

Celebrity Ornament Collection and Tree Auction (Begins Nov. 8)
Macy's stars - including Calvin Klein, Martha Stewart, Jessica Simpson, Michael Kors, Donald Trump, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Rachel Roy, Material Girl, Kenneth Cole, Sean John, Betsey Johnson, Emeril Lagasse and Greg Norman - have collaborated to create special gift items just in time for the holiday season. The Celebrity Ornament Collection features 14 unique and exclusive celebrity-inspired ornaments that retail for $9.99 each, with 10 percent of the purchase price benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Macy's has teamed up with leading charity auction website charitybuzz.com to launch a Celebrity Tree Auction, featuring a one-of-a-kind Christmas tree from each of Macy's stars that collaborated on the Celebrity Ornament Collection. All 14 trees will be on display at Macy's Herald Square in New York City, with the online auction beginning Nov. 8 at macys.com/trees. One hundred percent of the funds raised in the tree auction will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"Believe" Fan of the Week
New this season, fans that "like" Macy's on Facebook can upload the Macy's Believe-o-Magic image taken at the in-store Believe Station to Macy's Facebook wall. Each week, fans will have a chance to "like" their favorites and the fan with the most votes will be featured as Macy's Facebook profile picture! (Rules apply, please see facebook.com/macys for details.)

Macy's National Santa Tour with Holiday Happiness Provided by Aflac (Kicks off Nov. 26)
Now in its third year, Macy's famous Santa will embark on his popular whirlwind American tour. Aflac will partner with Macy's to bring holiday happiness to boys and girls in 26 cities across the United States through Dec. 21, when Santa's National Tour gives children the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the man himself. Visit macys.com/believe (site goes live Nov. 6) for scheduled stops and to track Santa's latest location.

National Believe Day(Dec. 9)
On Friday, Dec. 9, Macy's will again celebrate National Believe Day to honor the spirit of the season and inspire kindness and generosity from coast-to-coast. The special day will again focus on the season's message of humanity and charity toward others. As National Believe Day approaches, more details will be released on this year's effort.

"Yes, Virginia" Animated Special (Dec. 9)
Back by popular demand, CBS will re-air the original animated special, "Yes, Virginia." Building on the story of 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon's letter to the editor of the New York Sun in 1897, the holiday special takes us on a charming adventure about the existence of Santa Claus and the curiosity amongst believers. During the creation of "Yes, Virginia," a special wish was fulfilled for then 11-year-old wish kid Taylor Hay - whose voice and likeness were captured for one of the characters. The half-hour holiday program will air on CBS on National Believe Day, Friday, Dec. 9, at 9 p.m. ET. Featuring an all-star cast of voices including Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alfred Molina and Beatrice Miller in the title role, "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" Merchandise
First a popular animated special on CBS, now "Yes, Virginia" is available as a DVD and book that families can share throughout the holiday season and entire year. Plus, each sale of the "Yes, Virginia" book and DVD at Macy's helps spread kindness, with a donation of 10 percent of the purchase price to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. "Yes, Virginia" fans can also purchase holiday ornaments and a snow globe exclusively at Macy's and macys.com, all inspired by the original story that continues to make a believer of everyone!

Virginia Balloon
Taking her second stroll down the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade(R) route this year is the little girl who taught everybody to believe! Modeled after the animated version of 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon, Virginia had such a wonderful time last year that she's back for a second flight!

macys.com/believe (Site is live on Nov. 6)

  • Believe Activity Guide (in English or Spanish) - Macy's and the Make-A-Wish Foundation will again share a downloadable online toolkit to facilitate interest from teachers and schools that would like to use Believe as a writing lesson or activity during the holiday season. The toolkit, which includes an updated letter-writing template to allow for more interactivity and design, coloring sheet and "I Believe" bookmark cut-out, can be found at macys.com/believe. The letters can then be printed and mailed at Macy's.

The Believe campaign is rooted in a letter to the editor of the New York Sun written by 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon in 1897 asking if there is a Santa Claus. New York Sun newsman Francis P. Church responded with a poignantly worded essay on the importance of believing, including the famous line "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist..."

The Believe campaign launches on Nov. 6 and runs through Dec. 24. For believers who want to help make a difference, just look for the "Believe Stations" in every store, Believe Meter, letter-writing desk and an official R.H. Macy's Santa Mail letterbox.

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

Cities for Macy's Santa Tour (not in date order)

Ann Arbor, MI
Bangor, ME
Baton Rouge, LA
Boise, ID
Colorado Springs, CO
Columbia, SC
Daly City, CA
El Paso, TX
Erie, PA
Eugene, OR
Ft. Wayne, IN
Houston, TX
Las Vegas, NV
Manchester, NH
Nashville, TN
North Olmsted, OH
Pittsfield, MA
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Sacramento, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
Savannah, GA
South Park, VA
Spokane, WA
Towson, MD
Waterbury, CT
West Palm Beach, FL

About Macy's
Macy's, the largest retail brand of Macy's, Inc., 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(R) and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade(R), 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 the Make-A-Wish Foundation
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is one of the world's leading children's charities, with 62 chapters in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000 volunteers in the United States, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes and has granted more than 200,000 wishes in the United States since its inception. Visit wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish(R) through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50054490&lang=en

SOURCE: Macy's, Inc.

Macy's Media Relations
Julie Strider, 646-429-5213
julie.strider@macys.com
or
Alison Kmiotek, 646-429-7449
alison.kmiotek@macys.com