WestJet free-gift video exceeding expectations
Airline went all Oprah on hundreds of travellers and got a big brand boost for its trouble
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.
WestJet’s gift-giveaway stunt has become a YouTube smash.