As always, the Sneak Adtackniks are on stealth marketing like Brown on Williamson. Our latest roundup:

Yes, Virginia, There Is Branded Content

As the hardsneaking staff has previously noted, retail giant Macy’s has created a branded content franchise with its “Yes, Virginia” TV specials over the past few years.

Now comes a new incarnation (via the New York Times):

Giving Little Virginia Something to Sing About

FOR decades, Macy’s has been on Broadway, literally. Soon, the department store will be there figuratively, too, as it develops a musical for schools around the country.

The show, “Yes, Virginia the Musical,” is based on an animated, nonmusical television special, “Yes, Virginia,” that Macy’s has sponsored on CBS since 2009 as part of its Christmas advertising campaign that carries the theme “Believe.” The special is scheduled to return to CBS this fall, and will also appear on Univision, a Spanish-language network.

But wait! There’s more!

“Yes, Virginia the Musical” is aimed at students in grades three through six, reflecting the ages of the child characters in both the stage and television versions. Macy’s will share “Yes, Virginia the Musical” with schools through a Web site,, that offers content like downloadable scripts and scores; production reference materials; video clips of tips and encouraging words from performers like Florence Henderson; and a video of a recent test performance of the musical by children who attend the Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y.

Best of all, Macy’s will give the musical away for free! How nice is that?

Really Big Shoe on Web Channel

Nine West, the retail shoe chain, “has decided to cut out the middleman and produce its own media, according to the New York Times.

This week Nine West launched, “a way for us to bring original content and entertainment to viewers,” chief executive Richard Dickson told the Times. “We want to rewrite the rules of fashion marketing so it’s not just about a shoe, it’s about a conversation. We want Nine West to be a place you want to shop because you love shoes, not a place to shop when you need shoes.”

Among the conversation starters on Channel 9 are You’ve Been Prom’d, a series of videos tracking a makeover team as it descends on a high school to help students get ready for the prom. (This first episode introduces us to Newburgh Free Academy, described as an “inner city school.” Hey, who knew Newburg, NY had an inner city?)


(From our Compare and Contrast in Clear Idiomatic English desk: Does the Newburgh Free Academy in this video resemble in any way Nine West’s version of the high school?)



(Yeah – we didn’t think so.)

Other features on Channel Nine: You’ve Been Schooled, 9 Style TipsWord on the Street (“A Strappy Heel Can Be the Perfect Travel Shoe”), and much more!

Next month, look for Shoe Hoarders, which Nine West says will feature “some of the greatest and very unapologetic shoe addicts of all time.”

Sounds like good, clean, ungrammatical fun, doesn’t it?



John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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