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Macy?s strengthens holiday mobile efforts via augmented reality

Macy?s is using augmented reality as part of its Believe campaign, an annual national holiday effort to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

In past years Macy?s has asked customers to mail their letters to Santa to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year, consumers mailing their letters at Macy?s ?Believe Stations? in-store can take photos with the campaign?s animated stars Virginia, Ollie and their friends via augmented reality technology.

?The Macy?s sort of ideology revolves around believing,? said Trak Lord, PR and social media marketing manager at metaio GmbH, San Francisco.

?It?s one of those things where the whole language of it is perfect,? he said. ?You take these characters that have this nostalgic sense and bring it to life.?

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.

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.

Macy's Believe-o-Magic app was created and produced by Macy's and JWT in conjunction with Metaio GmbH and The Ebeling Group.

Skava developed their campaign which runs across mobile Web, tablet, Web and Facebook.

Mobile magic
Consumers can download the Macy?s Believe-o-Magic application to take part in the campaign.

Consumers can get instructions via the app

Customers can step in the frame and take a photo, which can also be uploaded into a holiday card template to share with friends and family via email or Facebook.

Users can take a picture with the animated characters

Consumers who are not in-store can also take part in the campaign while at home.

Users can print out the marker and point the Macy?s Believe-o-Magic camera at the marker.

Users can then see an animated Virginia ice skating.

?These animated characters already have such a great following and there?s a holiday spirit to it,? Mr. Lord said.

Other features
In addition to the augmented reality aspect, Macy?s is also running a Believe Fan of the Week promotion.

Users 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, consumers will have a chance to ?Like? their favorites and the fan with the most votes will be featured as Macy?s Facebook profile picture.

Last year Macy?s placed a Jagtag in its print ad in am New York newspaper to let consumers watch the Believe video.

Consumers were asked to take a picture of the Jagtag. Verizon and AT&T customers were asked to text the picture to 524824. All other consumers were asked to email the picture to .

In return, participants were able to view the Macy?s Believe video (see story).

?As far as the marketing aspect, Macy?s wanted this to be an in-store campaign not only to leverage the people that are coming into Macy?s already, but the whole purpose is to get more people  involved because of the charity,? Mr. Lord said.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York