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Content Marketing Campaign of the Week: WestJet’s Christmas Miracle – Spirit of Giving

In the spirit of it being a few days from Christmas, I figured I’d give the update of yet another content marketing gem from WestJet. Earlier this month I detailed how in 2013 WestJet surprised passengers in Canada with their WestJet Christmas Miracle:  Real-Time Giving. This year they took their Real-Time Giving campaign and surpassed it with WestJet Christmas Miracle:  Spirit of Giving.

As you can imagine, the Spirit of Giving goes beyond the Western expectations of Christmas presents and surprises WestJet accomplished last year during a cross-country flight. In this year’s surprise, WestJet travelled to the Dominican Republic. They set up a sleigh in what looks like a run-down town and asked each person who came aboard what they wanted. While not a surprise for viewers if they’ve seen the previous WestJet campaign, the surprise was emotional for the Dominicans in that town.

What is interesting to see is the difference of what people ask for between the Canadian version and the Dominican Republic version. It’s not surprising when you think about it; while the Canadian wish list was just that – things they don’t need but want in their life for pleasure – the Dominican wish list included what many people would say are needs:  a crib for a baby, washing machine, motor to run the taxi and earn a living. Even the kids ask for simple toys like a skateboard and a doll.

Not only was it presents for all, with bins for every family, they gave those kids a snowball fight! WestJet created an experience for this small town with a Christmas tree and fireworks too. And if you didn’t have watery eyes before, then they reveal the new town playground to kids who looked like they’d never seen a slide before.

Simply put, in the spirit of giving, WestJet earned a lot of goodwill with delving out presents that allow people to earn a living and truly enrich their lives.

But back to the return on investment.

Although it’s not a completely new idea, this content marketing campaign capitalizes on what was successful previously and adds more. (Talk about a great example of an Agile Marketing iteration!). Last year’s video had more than 37 million views, and garnered 13 million by Christmas. It’s been about two weeks since The Spirit of Giving video was released and it’s statistically behind its predecessor with only 2.8 million views. Is the disparity because it took place in the Dominican which is a destination for the carrier instead of a hub or routine flight? Is it because in Canada, every person in that airport had their smartphone recording and shared it with everyone they knew? I don’t know.

I’m doubtful this campaign will reach the same magnitude, but it’s still a win in the content marketing campaign of the week for me. Why? WestJet is generating views, they’re continuing a tradition that customers and viewers will come back for because it’s memorable, and they are definitely earning a positive brand reputation. Plus, anything that makes you cry in a good way is going to win.

So, if you’re reading this on your iPad (version one – gasp) or Galaxy 4, and were thinking how much you wanted the newest version this holiday season, maybe think about how nice it was to have a playground when you were a kid and get to that true meaning of Christmas mindset. And remember, tis better to give than it is to receive.

Happy holidays y’all!

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