Do you remember West Jet’s 2013 “Christmas Miracle”? West Jet placed a virtual Santa Clause at two Canadian airports to interact with passengers in the gate area before flights to Calgary. Though passengers thought they were interacting with Santa just for fun, West Jet staffers were secretly taking notes on the “wish lists” of passengers. While in flight, WestJet worked at a feverish pace with retail partners to procure wished-for gifts and had them at-the-ready in Calgary where the gifts were delivered via the baggage carousel.
West Jet brokered an experience for passengers… and the 44 million viewers of the video afterward. While it would be nice to think that a marketing event like this leads directly to more sales, in reality, it may not have a direct and immediate impact on sales. According to Tandy Thomas, Queen’s School of Business, more likely, it develops “strong brand image” from which there is “trickle-down effect” (as cited in Tucker, 2013).
What the video has done is it creates this emotional experience with the viewer, which helps create an emotional bond with WestJet, which is one of the strongest ways to help build up a strong brand” (Thomas, as cited in Tucker, 2013).
Tucker, E. (2013, December 10). WestJet Christmas Miracle stunt ad won’t make people buy their flights: profs. Retrieved from http://globalnews.ca/news/1021171/westjet-christmas-miracle-stunt-ad-wont-make-people-buy-their-flights-profs/
WestJet. (2013, December 8). WestJet Christmas Miracle: real-time giving. [Online video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIEIvi2MuEk