WestJet Earns Major Marketing Win

WestJet LogoEarlier this week, like many of you, I watched the five and a half minute video from WestJet dubbed a Christmas Miracle. I’ve read numerous reviews of the video all suggesting this was money well spent for the Canadian airline. Of course, I need to weigh in as well and break the video down into the various reasons I believe it was such a major marketing win for the company.

Building Engagement

Talking to Santa before getting on a flight, assuming the boarding process goes smoothly, is a fantastic way to start your trip! Did you catch all the smiles on the passengers’ faces? Priceless. I bet most, if not all, passengers had a positive flight experience in large part because of this added “bonus” of checking in with Santa prior to boarding. Even without sharing video, WestJet scored major engagement points with their customers. These passengers were going to share this experience with their friends, family and colleagues regardless if it went viral or not. What a fantastic method to building brand satisfaction and, ultimately, loyalty!

Emotional Connection

This video captures the magic of this time of year in an innocent and honest manner. I think this may be my favorite reason why this viral video is so remarkable. Watching the children interact with Santa Claus brought back memories of my own childhood. It definitely tugs at your heartstrings when the one mother is shocked Santa knows the names of her two boys who are equally, if not more shocked, than their mom. I’ll admit it, I teared up watching this video (a couple of times). There’s so much hassle in travel, especially this time of year. It’s easy to forget WHY we are traveling to grandma’s house. This video serves as an excellent reminder of the spirit of the holiday season and the magic of Christmas. It makes me believe again… not just in the magic of the season but in the good of other human beings.

Service with a Smile

Let’s not forget, WestJet involved their employees. Over 150 “elves” played integral roles in making this miracle happen. Yes, they followed an extremely well thought out plan but they did so with speed, efficiency and smiles on their faces. You could feel their excitement (and urgency) as they drove to the malls, ran through the halls and marked presents off their lists. What a great example of WestJet’s commitment to customer service and satisfaction. The employees visibly enjoyed themselves.

Sharing the Moment

Lastly, this video is a major marketing win because it was captured in the first place. It would have been great just to do this for customers and not make a big deal about it, rely solely on word of mouth marketing and move on to the next campaign. However, WestJet made a great video of the project that creates an emotional reaction, increases brand awareness (Admittedly, I’d never heard of WestJet before this week!) and shows their commitment to and appreciation of their passengers.

What you may not know is this was WestJet’s second annual holiday video. Last year, the airline experienced some success with a holiday flash mob.

Richard Bartem, WestJet VP of communications and community relations, explained in a separate video why and how the company made the Christmas Miracle:

Our culture at WestJet is all about fun, friendly and caring and our team… really knocked it out of the park this year, again… We start planning for Christmas, for this type of thing, back in August. It requires more than 150 WestJet volunteers, we call our WestJetters. They’ve been involved for almost a month now as we planned this.

As WestJet’s narrator so eloquently said near the end of the Christmas Miracle video, “Miracles do happen when we all work as one.” Well done, WestJet.