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Airline marketing campaign restores faith in corporations; humanity

By Isabelle Walker

Very rarely do we see an ingenious marketing strategy, intertwined with genuine good will, which restores faith in both humanity and reinforces the ability of successful corporations to act with unadulterated generosity. 

Canadian Airline WestJet’s new marketing campaign has gone viral with a nuanced approach to online advertising.
The five and a half minute video – long by viral video standards in the age of the 6 second ‘Vine’ – captivates viewers from start to finish in the feel-good campaign of the festive season. 

The clip shows a large decorated Christmas present displaying an interactive St Nick (complete with hidden cameras and - unbeknownst to the travellers - communication to a control room) where travellers scan their boarding passes. St Nick asked travellers what their dream Christmas present would be. Little did the jetsetters know their every wish was being recorded and purchased by the WestJet “elves”, ready to be presented once travellers reach the baggage claim at the end of their journey. 

Despite purchasing customers everything from socks and underwear to a snowboard and a flat-screen TV, this was not an expensive campaign as WestJet easily recouped the cost by being smart enough to come-up with a concept that would go going viral and therefore avoided paid advertising. This ‘giving’ approach has undoubtedly improved WestJet’s consumer perception and I wouldn't be surprised to see an increase in its bottom-line. 

Perhaps this marketing strategy makes a point that human kindness and generosity can be the making of great business and advertising, rather than cut-throat business decisions and unfettered greed.