WestJet Surprises Passengers with Gifts
In less than a week, a Christmas video where WestJet Surprises Passengers with Gifts has received more than 19 million views on YouTube.
“We had no idea it would be this big,” said Robert Palmer, WestJet’s manager of public relations. “The number of viewers is way more than we expected.”
WestJet Airlines, based in Calgary, Canada, said the piece was the result of a summer brainstorming session and was designed to be fun and to convey the magic of Christmas and the spirit of giving.
WestJet said the motivation was to have fun, which is why it doesn’t include a tagline or sales pitch.
“This wasn’t done as a PR stunt,” Palmer said.
How did WestJet pull off the Christmas surprise?
On Nov. 21, passengers on two flights, between Toronto and Calgary, and from Hamilton, Ontario, to Calgary, were asked to check in by waving boarding passes in front of a giant box wrapped to look like a Christmas present.
When they did, the front of the package displayed a video screen with Santa Claus asking each person what he or she wanted for Christmas. Many laughed (the kids loved it) and eventually disclosed something on their wish list: socks and underwear, consumer electronic devices, a snowboard, a big screen TV and even a request for a husband.
Dozens of WestJet employees were given a list of the requests.
“We had 175 people working on this, and the wishes were relayed in real time to our people in Calgary,” Palmer said.
The WestJet crew scrambled to stores, bought the gifts, wrapped them and took them to the airport in Calgary. They had only four hours to accomplish everything.
When the passengers landed and went to the baggage carousel, instead of finding suitcases coming come down the ramp they saw dozens of wrapped packages, each marked for a particular person.
The video captures the surprise and emotion of the moment.
As for the woman who asked Santa for a husband, Palmer laughed and said, “We gave her a Ken doll.”
Eat Well…Live Full
Laura Raymond, Editor
December 15, 2013
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