Macy's Starts Off Holiday Effort With Wish Fulfillment

Retailer Returns to Believe Campaign for Eighth Year

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Macy's is back this year for the eighth season of its Believe holiday campaign, which continues the holiday tradition of generosity.

This time around, the department store chain has produced a three-minute film online featuring a magic pen that grants wishes -- like making it snow -- and encourages children to believe in the spirit of the season. The video will be cut up into 15-, 30-, and 60-second spots to air on TV. The spot goes live online on Nov. 2. As part of the campaign, Macy's will also sell a $14.99 Wish Writer stylus to be used on the brand's app, where kids can participate in digital holiday-themed activities such as building a snowman and decorating cookies. A portion of sales will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"The star of the commercial is the magic pen, and we were trying to find another way to get engagement -- this idea of gamification is the way to do it," said Martine Reardon, CMO of Macy's. "It's our twist of bringing something traditional and nostalgic to the modern way the generations of today work, which is on mobile devices and through apps." Though she declined to comment on the campaign's budget, she said the retailer is spending more this year than in 2014.

Ironically, one of the film's themes appears to lament our reliance on technology. A scene features a man and woman who are paying attention to their mobile phones rather than to each other; a little girl wishes for mistletoe, which distracts -- at least temporarily -- the couple from their devices.

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