Macy’s is launching a television special inspired by the New York Sun’s “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” editorial from 1897, in aid of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Yes Virginia, set to air on December 11 on CBS, is based around the true story of Virginia O’Hanlon who, in 1897, sent an open letter to the New York Sun asking if there really was a Santa Claus, and the now-famous editorial response written by Francis Church. The show is linked with letter-writing “Believe” stations in Macys stores in the USA, with the company making a $1 donation for each letter deposited in Macys Santa Mail.
Set in New York City during Christmas season of 1897, eight-year-old Virginia has second thoughts about the existence of Santa Claus after her friends tease her and insist that he doesn’t exist. Virginia poses the question of whether Santa really exists to her local newspaper, at the suggestion of her father, who tells her, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Editor Francis Church takes the opportunity to rise above the simple question and addresses the philosophical issues behind it.
After reassuring her that there is a Santa Claus, the editorial goes on to say “He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.” To this day, it remains the most reprinted editorial to ever run in any English-language newspaper.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
The Yes Virginia Believe campaign was developed at JWT New York by executive creative director Wayne Best, creative director Matt MacDonald, copywriter Pete Circuitt.
Voiceovers are by Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alfred Molina and Neil Patrick Harris.
Music is by Nicholas Hooper.