The holiday season can be something of a double-edged sword for brand promotion. From presents to food to travel arrangements and more, it presents a huge opportunity for increased sales. It would be irresponsible not to take advantage of this and create marketing campaigns geared toward the holidays.
However, when you do that, you also run the risk of looking like just another “greedy corporation,” that only cares about making a buck, rather than the spirit of the season. Well, who says you can’t care about both? The Canadian company WestJet may have come up with a solution that allows them to have their holiday fruitcake and eat it, too.
WestJet Airlines knows the value of content marketing. Along with a regular blog, their YouTube channel nearly 300 videos, covering everything from tours of popular vacation destinations to messages from their staff, to fun and interesting projects they’re working on. But to make a real impact for the holiday season, they decided to go all out. They put their marketing minds to creating a Christmas miracle. And it has everybody talking.
On Dec. 8, WestJet released this video. It shows real passengers on two of their flights, talking to Santa Claus via live video feed and telling him what they want for Christmas. Items range from socks and underwear, all the way up to a big screen TV. That alone would have been a fun and noteworthy holiday stunt. But they took it a step farther.
Once the passengers were on their flights, the WestJet staff made a list and checked it twice—then rushed out to buy everything on that list and have it for their passengers by the time they landed. At the baggage claim, each passenger received a wrapped present containing exactly what they’d asked for. Even the guy who asked for a big screen TV. It took some doing, but WestJet managed to bring a bit of holiday magic to their passengers at Christmastime.
Coordinating a stunt like that, not to mention buying presents for all of those people (more than 250 passengers), isn’t easy or cheap. But it’s paying off. In less than three days, the video of their Christmas miracle received nearly 10 million views. It’s been featured on all sorts of popular news outlets, and everyone is talking about it.
But that’s not all WestJet did with this project. Getting that level of coverage is great, but viral videos are here today and gone tomorrow. The tricky part is making sure that a fair portion of those 10 million viewers stay connected with them and continue receiving information about their brand.
So first, WestJet supplemented the video with more content, to keep viewers interested in what they had to offer and hopefully get them to subscribe to their channel. Then, they introduced a contest to help them out on the social media front. Everyone (in Canada) who follows them on Twitter and shares the video in their own feed within a given period of time is entered to win a free trip for two, to the WestJet vacation destination of their choice.
WestJet has managed to get the best of both worlds this holiday season. They’re managing amazing brand promotion and increasing their social reach in a number of different ways. But at the same time, they’re putting the spirit of giving back into the holiday season. So now, when people think about what airline to use for their holiday travel plans, what will likely they think of? WestJet, the company that makes Christmas dreams come true.