WestJet Santa Video Goes Viral

by , Dec 12, 2013, 12:47 AM
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WestJet brightened the day of some travelers in a video that has been viewed almost 12 million times on YouTube since its launch earlier this week.

The Canadian airline, with the help of a virtual Santa Claus, queried passengers who were waiting to board about what they wanted for Christmas.

The video shows the varying answers of passengers -- who were waiting to board flights to Calgary from Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario. They said they wanted everything from boots like Santa’s, a camera, and plane tickets home to a giant TV. The man who joked that he wanted socks and underwear probably wished he taken the question more seriously.

Once everyone boarded their planes, the WestJet team took off on a whirlwind shopping spree.

More than 150 WestJet employees gathered the personalized presents, wrapping them and delivering them to the Calgary airport before the unsuspecting recipients landed. Best Buy Canada partnered with the airline in supplying many of the gifts, including a 52-inch flat-screen TV.

Upon arrival, the travelers watched in disbelief as beautifully wrapped presents personally addressed to each of them were the first items off the baggage carousel.

The entire event was captured via hidden cameras and turned into a five-and-a-half minute video.

To prompt social media users to share the video, WestJet said if the video were viewed by at least 200,000 YouTube users, it would donate flights to families in need through WestJet Cares For Kids, its community investment program. As of Wednesday night, the video has been viewed almost 12 million times.

"This year, we wanted to turn our holiday campaign into a tradition by doing something that's never been done before," said Richard Bartrem, WestJet vice president, communications and community relations, in a release. "Inspired by the notion of real-time giving, we wanted to surprise our guests with meaningful, personalized gifts when they least expected them. Being able to show our guests how much we care with gift-giving, a tried and true holiday tradition, resonates with WestJetters as much as our guests."

Last year, WestJet created a Christmas-themed flash mob, complete with dancing elves, in the middle of an airport. The video received almost a half million views.




5 comments on "WestJet Santa Video Goes Viral".

  1. Jim O'neal from Independant Media Consultant
    commented on: December 12, 2013 at 11:25 a.m.
    To the WestJet Team that created this idea: spot on brilliant! I saw the story on NBC News this week and was so impressed..called a friend about it to ask if they had seen it. Cudos to the group who thought of it and executed!
  2. Tanya Irwin from Tanya Irwin
    commented on: December 12, 2013 at 3:42 p.m.
    It is the most brilliant piece of marketing I have seen this year, maybe in several years. How much would 12 million views be worth? Definitely a lot more than the gifts cost. I suspect the residual effect will last quite a while. My husband and I were online last night to see if WestJet flew out of Windsor, which we are near. I'll bet we aren't alone.
  3. Jim Thompson from Temple University
    commented on: December 12, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.
    At the risk of sounding like a downer, I kept thinking that it would have been way better if they had used the money to buy coats (it can get cold in Canada) or toys for poor kids. The 50" TV was what pushed me over the edge.
  4. Kim Willey from Imprezzio Marketing
    commented on: December 13, 2013 at 9:21 a.m.
    To Jim Thompson - clearly you have never been to Canada and know nothing about WestJet and the MANY works they do for charities. Clearly you also did not properly read this article because if you did, you would have read the following: "To prompt social media users to share the video, WestJet said if the video were viewed by at least 200,000 YouTube users, it would donate flights to families in need through WestJet Cares For Kids, its community investment program." As for your comment, "it can get cold in Canada" you are correct, however most of Canada is actually warmer than some parts of America in the winter, in fact, over half our population lives in climate exactly the same as the USA. I would hope that Temple University isn't so American-centered to think that the Arctic Tundra begins at the 42nd parallel...
  5. Jim Thompson from Temple University
    commented on: December 13, 2013 at 12:53 p.m.
    You know Kim, I was really trying to be civil in my comments. I didn't blast WestJet, it just seems like the money could be better spent. (Even you would have to agree that the 50" TV was excessive.) Donating flights is a very nice gesture - for those times when poor families have a need to fly (I assume for a medical emergency). BTW, I have been to Canada about 40 times, including extended periods in 6 provinces and love your country and the people there. And more than a few Canadians fly south to, yes the US, to escape the cold in the winter.

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