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Macy?s mobilizes letters to Santa via comprehensive Believe site

Macy?s evolving mobile strategy for its annual holiday campaign Believe this year focuses on the mobile Web with a comprehensive site enabling users to write letters to Santa, participate in a Guinness World Records challenge, download content and purchase related merchandise. 

For Macy?s seventh annual Believe campaign to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the retailer is once again making mobile a big focus of its strategy to raise money and help consumers get in the spirit of the holidays. As part of the effort, Macy?s is mobilizing its signature letter-writing program for the first time, enabling children to write letters to Santa Claus with their holiday wish lists from mobile and desktop. 

"Macy's omnichannel strategy continues to be important for our customers, creating a holistic experience that allows them to interact with us how they want, when they want - in store, online and via mobile,? said Holly Thomas, group vice president of media relations and cause marketing at Macys. 

?Offering the opportunity to create and send Santa letters online, as well as continuing our letter collection in store for this year's Believe campaign, allows our customer to participate in any way that is most convenient for her - whether it's while shopping in our stores, online, on a smartphone or tablet,? she said. 

Yes, Virginia?
Macy?s annual Believe campaign is built around true story of 8-year-old Virginia O?Hanlon, who wrote a letter to the New York Sun newspaper in 1897 asking if there really was a Santa Claus. The response from the paper?s editor, ?Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist ...,? is now famous and serves as the basis for a ?Yes, Virginia? animated television, school musical and related merchandise. 

The Believe campaign runs from Nov. 7 to Dec. 24, with customers able to visit a Macy?s store to drop stamped letters addressed to ?Santa at the North Pole? into special Santa Mail letterboxes. 

New this year, customers can visit the mobile-optimized site to create and send their letter to Santa. 

For each letter collected in-store and online, Macy?s will donate $1, up to $1 million, to Make-A-Wish, which grants the wishes of children with life- threatening medical conditions.

By enabling children to submit letter via mobile and desktop, Macy?s hopes to achieve a Guinness World Records title for the longest wish list to Santa. 

Mobile commerce
?The site also includes event listings and location information for local Santa Mail letterboxes. 

Educators can visit the site to download the Believe Activity Guide, a toolkit available in English or Spanish to use as a writing lesson or activity during the holiday season.

The site also includes stationary for writing letters to Santa that can be downloaded.  

Additionally, the site contains information about other elements of the campaign, including the televised animated special, a school musical program and the sixth annual National Believe Day.

Consumers on the site can also click through to Macy?s ecommerce site to purchase related items such as Yes Virginia doll. 

Evolving mobile strategy
?Macy?s has been leveraging mobile to enhance the Believe campaign for several years. 

In 2011, Macy?s enabled customers mailing their letters at in-store Believe Stations to take a picture with the campaign?s animated stars using augmented reality technology (see story). 

In 2013, customers who posted a photo or video of themselves mailing a letter to Santa from inside a Macy?s store using the hashtag #MacysBelieve had the chance to be included in a Macy?s television commercial (see story). 

Macy?s has raised more than $8.7 million for the Make-A-Wish foundation since the campaign began seven years ago. 

?We're excited to introduce this new experience to further engage kids of all ages in our holiday letter collection program to benefit Make-A-Wish," Ms. Thomas said. 

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York