Around last Christmas, WestJet had a special surprise in store for its passengers travelling from Hamilton and Toronto to Calgary.
While it was business as usual for the passengers as they came in to the airport, the first surprise awaited them at the boarding gates – virtual Santa on life-size screens, asking them what they wanted for Christmas. Playing along, most of the passengers responded with their wish list. Android tablet, big screen TV, mobile phone and even a pair of underwear!
At Calgary, as the passengers waited for their baggage to arrive, the gifts (the one they had wished for) started rolling out of the baggage carousel! Just watch this video to see the reactions of the passengers as they saw their gifts arrive. Squeals of delight and amazement, shouts of “No Way!” interspersed with a lot of laughter and few tears as well!
The YouTube video went viral and has, till date, garnered over 35 million(yes, you read that right!) views in more than 200 countries. If that was not enough, it generated huge publicity as every major media house ran a story on the campaign, trended on Twitter for many days and was widely shared and talked about on the Social Media. These are the tangibles. Now consider the intangibles – no amount of traditional advertising can buy you the amount of goodwill that was generated by this campaign.
What about the cost? While WestJet has not disclosed the figure, it does not require you to be a marketing and advertising guru to figure out that the overall cost of the campaign would have been a fraction of what they would have spent on a traditional TV commercial.
So in the end, WestJet did an amazing job of reaching out to a large number of people and delivering the right message, in an extremely cost-effective manner – hallmark of a great digital marketing campaign. It was indeed a marketing miracle!