WestJet gives shocked travellers gifts in real-time

Real-time marketing now has a festive offshoot—real-time gifting.

As part of its 2013 holiday campaign, WestJet gave customized gifts to surprised travelers landing at Calgary International Airport. “The WestJet Christmas Miracle” began with guests waiting to board at Toronto Pearson International Airport and John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. A virtual Santa Claus booth was set up in the lounges so unsuspecting guests could chat virtually with a remote Santa and share what they wanted for Christmas. Their wish lists—from practical (new socks and underwear) to high-end (a big-screen TV)—were recorded by 19 hidden cameras.

WestJet staff sprung into action to purchase the specific gifts mentioned and had them wrapped in time for when the travellers touched down in Calgary. Then, as the travellers stood waiting at the baggage carousel, the labeled gifts made their way down the luggage chute to the perplexed passengers.

More than 150 WestJet staff and its “digital command centre” helped pull off the stunt, which was captured in the company’s second-ever Christmas video. The video was released Monday, and features WestJet employees picking up some of the gifts at WestJet partners Best Buy Canada and Crosslron Mills.

When the video reaches 200,000 views on YouTube, WestJet Cares for Kids will donate flights through WestJet partner charity Ronald McDonald House Charities.

A charitable aspect was also incorporated into WestJet’s holiday video last year, which featured a flash mob of elves and carolers that entertained red-eye flight travelers in the boarding lounge at Calgary’s airport. When that video hit 25,000 views, the company gave a family in need flights via its community investment program. That video went on to get roughly 472,000 views.

This year’s video was produced by Studio M; Globacore Interactive Technologies handled the virtual santa booth. Mosaic is responsible for the national PR work.

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