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Macy’s harnesses holiday spirit via mobile to drive in-store traffic

November 7, 2013

Macy's incorporate photo-sharing into annual Believe campaign

Macy’s continues its run as a leader in mobile by adapting a favored smartphone activity – sharing photos – for its signature annual holiday campaign.

Through Dec. 7, customers who post a photo or video of themselves mailing a letter to Santa from inside a Macy’s store using the hashtag #MacysBelieve will have chance to be included in a Macy’s television commercial. The mobile social strategy will help Macy’s drive word of mouth for the campaign as well as foot traffic into its stores.

“By adding a photo sharing element to the in-store Santa Mail letterboxes, the #MacysBelieve campaign is tapping into the emotion of the holidays and their loyal customers’ networks to bring more people into the store,” said Leslie Poston, senior social media strategist at Flightpath.

“By encouraging social sharing of these special moments, Macy’s is taking a step in bridging the gap between amazing brick and mortar customer experiences and our online worlds,” she said.

Ms. Poston is not affiliated with Macy’s and spoke based on her experience in mobile.

Macy’s did not meet press deadline.

Letters to Santa
This is not the first time mobile has played a key role in the campaign. In 2011, the retailer was one of the first to leverage augmented reality in a big way, enabling shoppers to take a photo of themselves with the campaign’s animated stars.

By leveraging photo-sharing this year, Macy’s will be able to tap into the growing use of social media on mobile devices to drive word of mouth for the campaign.

The  mobile optimized micro site for the campaign

Customers who take a photo or video of the moment they mail a letter to Santa at Macy’s Believe Station with their smartphone and share it on Instagram, Twitter or Vine using #MacysBelieve will be considered for the opportunity to be in a Macy’s TV commercial airing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The ad will be a montage of moments from customers across the country.

Optimized micro site
The mobile elements of the campaign also include a “Yes, Virginia” illustrated storybook with a QR code linking readers to content such as a trailer of the television special of the same name.

The microsite for the Believe campaign has also been optimized for mobile. On the site, consumers can learn about the various elements of the campaign and click through to the holiday gift guide.

The site also encourages consumers to text JOIN to 62297 to receive holiday updates as well as sales and other information.

Macy’s Believe holiday campaign to support Make A Wish is in its sixth year.

Some of the other ways Macy’s is making mobile a part of its holiday strategy include the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade mobile application and giving app users an early peak at its Black Friday deals.

Visual layer
The Believe campaign kicks off today, enabling children to drop stamped letters addressed to Santa at The North Pole in the Santa Mail letterbox inside Macy’s stores.

For each letter received through Dec. 24, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. The Make-A-Wish nonprofit helps grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

The campaign also includes a school musical program, a nationally televised animated special, a concert, activity guides for teachers and National Believe Day on Dec. 6.

“Brands that do photo-sharing and visual campaigns well find a resonance with their fans that only enhances the overall brand experience,” Ms. Poston said.

“Whether brands approach photo sharing in an indirect way, like the Oreo Daily Twist campaign did, and create compelling images that inspire customers to share or approach it in a collaborative, user-driven way like Macy’s has chosen, brands will see direct benefit from adding a visual layer to their marketing,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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