It’s hard not to find something wonderful in the combination of kids, Christmas, and technology! And Macy’s has always led the pack. In their stores, on TV, and online, they’ve tried to make magic unfold. This year, however, in their 2014 Believe campaign, they amassed such a “sackful of strategies,” I could hardly keep them straight — from celebrating thier official National Believe Day (12/12) to making wishes come true, donations to Make a Wish Foundation, new ways to submit your Letter to Santa, (complete with an AR app), breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest wish list for Santa, a new “Yes, Virginia” musical and animated show, a tech savvy little elf named Gadget who chronicles his journey to the North Pole with said record-breaking list on You Tube, Instagram, twitter, and more… to… a partridge in a pear tree?
No, not that. But today, just 1 day before it all comes to fruition on Christmas Eve — when all wishes, hopes and threats result in either good things or the dreaded coal, I paused to take stock of just what a magical morass indeed had been created.
In the past month (ish), the Macy’s Believe Campaign has turned out a marketing cacophony of Christmas “things” to rival the 12 Days of Christmas! Take a look at what, on the 12th day since it all started, Macy’s gave to us all:
~ 12 PR partnerships (at least 12 tie-in partners I counted), ranging from the very visible and contributory Good Morning America (where this whole Elf-Takes-Longest-Wish-List-to-Santa journey began), the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Alaskan Airlines, UPS, and Amtrak, plus hats tipped to Penn Station, Pequod’s (Chicago) Pizza, Central Park, the Central Park Horses, The Willis Tower, The Chicago Sky Deck, and more (before I did stop counting).
~ a whole host of hashtags (#MacysBelieve, #WishesDelivered (with UPS), #GadgetTheElf before I stopped counting)
~ a wonderland of websites , including not just macys.com/elfjourney, but macybelievetogether.com, and yesvirginiamusical.com (before I stopped counting)
~ over 30 viral(?) videos of Gadget The Elf’s travels (and I write this on only Day 5 of the journey), with most garnering no more than a couple hundred views at best. And these did not seem to be no-brainer productions. Oh to have Santa’s budget!
~ dozens of daily Instagram snaps from aforementioned Gadget the Elf (not to mention tweets and posts)
~ 3 all new “Yes Virginia” properties, including an animated special, a giant parade balloon/float, and a musical performance version of the show, a school grant program to help fund the production of said musical at the grassroots level, the requisite Teachers Guide, and of course, related promotional merchandise for sale.
~ and 1 Augmented Reality “Believe -o-Magic” app to bring you into Virginia’s imaginary world right from your line in Macy’s “Santa Land” in-store tradition!
Reality Check: I always say that creative people can go overboard with “what’s possible” simply because they can conjure it up! Think Macy’s broke the sleigh. Too bad, because I really do believe (in the power of great, creative marketing to make a big difference.) Maybe next year, Macy’s, simpler will be better.