WestJet Takes Holiday Video Marketing to new Heights

WestJet Takes Holiday Video Marketing to new Heights

This may have been digital overkill, but clearly there was something I needed to see. The now viral WestJet video is exactly the kind of magic marketers are asking Santa for (and for good reason). It’s got great production value, a charming story, and the secret sauce that has aunts and friends hitting the share buttons. While you can’t plan a viral video, I want to explore what marketers can learn from this Christmas story. WestJet Crafted an Experience for People While most people watch this video and think, “what a great thing for an airline to do!”, a lot of B2B marketers think, “That’s cool, but I can’t do this with my brand; there’s no audience for this kind of message in a corporate space.” Fortunately, this just isn’t true. WestJet succeeded because the storytelling resonated with real people. And They Really do Care This video wasn’t slapped together overnight; this was a planned gift to customers. Just watch as WestJet vice-president Richard Bartrem explains why they made the effort (especially around the 1:19 mark where he gets into the production details): The coordinated campaign required more than 150 WestJet volunteers, more than a dozen hidden cameras, 3 different airports, various internal teams, an external agency, and a partridg– well, you get the idea. Lessons for Marketers Give Your Customers a Gift (and I’m not talking about a TV): Although B2B companies need video throughout the sales funnel to support the buying process, skip the pitch and take the advice of Tim Washer: “A few times a year, produce a video that’s simply entertaining…It still amplifies your message because you’re going to put it in blog posts, etc. The social sharing will indeed reunite families in need as the video has received well over 28 million views to date.

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Last week my aunt texted me to tell me to check my email. This may have been digital overkill, but clearly there was something I needed to see. Who would have guessed that the important thing I had to drop everything to watch was a video from an airline?

The now viral WestJet video is exactly the kind of magic marketers are asking Santa for (and for good reason). It’s got great production value, a charming story, and the secret sauce that has aunts and friends hitting the share buttons.

While you can’t plan a viral video, I want to explore what marketers can learn from this Christmas story.

WestJet Crafted an Experience for People

While most people watch this video and think, “what a great thing for an airline to do!”, a lot of B2B marketers think, “That’s cool, but I can’t do this with my brand; there’s no audience for this kind of message in a corporate space.”

Fortunately, this just isn’t true.

Tim Washer, Senior Marketing Manager at Cisco puts it best in a recent video: “In B2B sometimes we get stuck thinking we need to be complex in our communications because we have a complex buying cycle, but it’s not companies that are buying from us, it’s people“.

WestJet succeeded because the storytelling resonated with real people. From the whimsical, purple-clad Santa who knows everyone’s name to the Night-Before-Christmas-esque-narrator, WestJet branded an experience evoking emotions from childhood. Moreover, the main takeaway is that they care.

And They Really do Care

This video wasn’t slapped together overnight; this was a planned gift to customers. Just watch as WestJet vice-president Richard Bartrem explains why they made the effort (especially around the 1:19 mark where he gets into the production details):

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