WestJet free-gift video ex­ceed­ing ex­pec­ta­tions

Air­line went all Oprah on hun­dreds of trav­ellers and got a big brand boost for its trouble

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - News -

While WestJet in­sists its hol­i­day gift-giv­ing stunt that spawned a vi­ral video wasn’t in­tended to be a com­mer­cial in dis­guise, mar­ket­ing ex­perts say the Cana­dian air­line’s brand is get­ting an in­valu­able boost as the YouTube hit count con­tin­ues to surge.

In the video, which sur­passed 15 mil­lion views on Thurs­day, the air­line hatches an elab­o­rate hol­i­day sur­prise for more than 250 trav­ellers head­ing to Cal­gary on flights from Toronto and Hamil­ton.

WestJet cus­tomers are seen stum­bling upon a video kiosk that con­nects them with a blue-suited Santa Claus, who asks what they’d like for Christ­mas. A fam­ily asks for a big TV, a boy wants a tablet, and one man asks for socks and un­der­wear.

WestJet staff then scram­ble to buy the gifts to fill those re­quests, which are wrapped and de­liv­ered via a lug­gage carousel in Cal­gary. The shocked re­ac­tion of the pas­sen­gers as they re­al­ize what WestJet has done is a feel-good tear­jerker.

“They pulled it off in stun­ning fash­ion,” said Mitch Joel, pres­i­dent of Twist Image.

WestJet said it had hoped the video would gen­er­ate 200,000 views.

SCREEN­GRAB

WestJet’s gift-give­away stunt has be­come a YouTube smash.

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