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Canadian Airline Makes Christmas Wishes Come True For Passengers

9 Jan I

WestJet-Christmas-MiracleChristmas is a time for giving, and never has this been better demonstrated than by the fantastic experiential marketing campaign executed by Canadian airline, WestJet, in December.

The company decided to organise the ultimate Christmas surprise for its passengers on two Calgary-bound flights on Christmas Eve. It began at the airport, where passengers were met at the gate by a giant video screen through which they could tell Santa Claus what they wanted for Christmas.

Some wishes were for small things like a warm scarf, pants and socks, while others were for high-ticket items like the latest Android tablet and a big LCD television.

Once the flights were in the air, the WestJet team in Calgary made like Santa’s little helpers and raced round the shops to find the gifts people had asked for. The items were then beautifully wrapped and labelled with each passenger’s name.

When they landed four hours later, the baggage carousel began to fill with the gifts. You can watch a video below. The look on the passengers’ faces is just priceless. It’s clearly an emotional experience, with many of them brought to tears by the generosity.

Greg Plata, Team Lead of the Sponsorship Team, WestJet Airlines, said the campaign had taken several months to organise: “In early August, we sat down with our friends at studio m and started brainstorming what ‘giving’ looked like at its best. We wanted to do something big, exciting and fresh.

“Fast forward three months and, with the help of 175 WestJet volunteers, three airports and Santa himself, we made a Christmas miracle happen for more than 250 guests on two Calgary-bound flights.”

In addition to gifts for passengers, WestJet also pledged to donate Christmas flights to a family in need if its video of the ‘Christmas Miracle’ initiative reached 200,000 views on YouTube. Viewers were urged to share the video with family and friends, and that they did – it quickly surpassed the 200,000 mark and now stands at nearly 35 million views!

WestJet has not revealed the cost of the campaign, but the social currency a hit YouTube video such as this fosters should well exceed the cost of those giveaways. Industry guidelines suggest an average of 15 meaningful brand engagements for every 1,000 views, so that’s a very respectable return on investment.

The campaign follows on from the success of WestJet’s 2012 Christmas initiative. The airline teamed up with the Walt Disney Company to offer passengers waiting to board a red-eye flight at Calgary Airport an alternative ‘express flight’ to the North Pole. The gates then opened and out spilled a flash-mob of elves, singers and ballerinas. And once passengers were on-board their flight, Santa hopped on to distribute stockings filled with gifts.

Of course, these are experiential campaigns on a grand scale and with a grand budget, but the essence of fun and giving can be translated for companies with smaller marketing pots. A giveaway of branded sweeties, promotional pens or handy gifts will ensure you’re front of your customers’ minds. Why not take a look at our Bestsellers to help you plan your 2014 activity?

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