Like many of my fellow marketers, I spent a good portion of this morning passing around the video of the real-time shopping promotion that West Jet pulled off. I don’t want to dance around it. This is the best piece of holiday marketing that I’ve seen in years. Really, it is one of the best pieces that I’ve seen for any brand in years.
In case you haven’t seen it, here is the video. Watch it and then I will tell you why I believe that it is so amazing.
When Was the Last Time You Loved an Airline?
In all honesty, when was the last time that you felt genuine affection for an airline? We show some preference. We all love to travel but airlines are almost universally villains in our minds. For a brief moment in time, West Jet made themselves out to be the only hero in an industry that is full of villains. That’s a huge accomplishment. Most airline marketing schemes are built on ride comfort or the lack of fees. This one was built on emotions…successfully. That is pretty amazing. West Jet seems to legitimately care about making people happy, not just getting their flight booked. (It is worth noting that Expedia has done a great job connecting emotionally but they are a travel service, not an airline.)
They Took Care of Kids
Not only did they take care of the kids, they reinforced their love for Santa. This jolly man in a blue suit (contrary to the Coca-Cola red) seemed to know the children. The only thing that he was missing was their deepest wishes. What he had was the ability to make them come true. To see the look of amazement on those children’s faces was worth the marketing dollars alone.
They Took Care of the Parents
The only thing that pulls at my heartstrings more than seeing a child get what they want is to see adults genuinely get lost in emotion when they feel loved by someone not required to love them. When that woman opened up the box to find her camera and was overcome with joy to get something that she may not have gotten were it not for West Jet really touched me. If you think that she’ll ever fly with another airline, I am willing to bet that you’d be wrong.
As a marketer, I can’t help but give props to West Jet for subtly giving the nod to Best Buy and others who helped them with this project. It never took away from West Jet but made us feel like the other stores were a part of making dreams come true as well.
It Was Authentic
This piece was absolutely brilliant because it was about a brand caring for people. Villains or not, we put airlines in charge of our safety and helping us reach out destinations to spend time with our friends, family and other loved ones. To truly make its customers feel like they take that responsibility seriously was amazing. I’ve watched the video four times already and I can confidentially say that I will fly with West Jet next time that I have the opportunity. Well done!
If you want to see another great piece of marketing taking place at an airport, might I recommend this piece from T-Mobile circa 2010: