Macy’s delivered the magic with the recent holiday campaign

By Kenneth Richard & Rachel Smith | The Impressionist

Take to the tube in the UK at this time of year and you will find department store after department store outdoing each other with the most emoting and humorous of TV adverts. However stateside we are often left empty handed as American retailers tend to focus on the wallet over the heart. However, this year the team at Macy’s has triumphantly bought out the magic of the holidays with their heartwarming film entitled “The Wish Writer.”

The spot, created by JWT New York and directed by Filip Enstrom of Smuggler, involves two children writing letters to Santa in their living room while ‘Yes, Virginia,’ an animated special from Macy’s 2009 Believe campaign, is playing on the television. Just as their mom ask from the kitchen how their letters are coming, Viginia’s pen from the animated TV show rolls off the screen, transforms into a real pen and drops magically on the living room floor. With newfound magical pen in hand, the young girl begins writing down her own wishes. To her surprise, they fade away. One wish she writes stays, and she realizes that the pen will only work if her wishes are selfless.

It is an endearing spot and covers a great deal of territory as the children inevitability find joy in helping others while in route to drop off their letters to Santa at a red mail box inside Macy’s. This is all to drive home that Macy’s does indeed have red mailboxes set-up within their stores to drop off stamped letters addressed to Santa. For each of those letters Macy’s donates $1, up to $1 million, to Make-A-Wish, an organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. In keeping up with the times, Macy’s has created a Wish Writer app bringing virtual to the literal program.

The Impression would like to applaud the efforts of all involved because the spot is generous, as well as entertaining, on so many levels. It takes a brave and confident retailer to produce a spot that can play on the international stage of like minded retailers in the UK. It takes even a braver retailer to put their money where their mouth is and teach the value of giving to others with more than items from their own department store.


Agency | J. Walter Thompson New York
Executive Creative Directors | Jon Zast and Andy Carrigan
Senior Art Director | Jordan Young
Senior Copywriter | Carl Mallia
Chief Creative Officer | Adam Kerj
Production | Smuggler
Director | Filip Engstrom
Executive Producer | Shannon Jones
Producer |  Leslie Vaughn
Visual Effects/ Design | The Mill, LA
Editorial | Rock Paper Scissors, NY
Editors | Aaron Tompkins and Christopher Mitchell
Music | Yessian
Composer/Arranger | Dan Zank