Friday, December 13, 2013

A marketing miracle

By now, we've all seen this video of the amazing stunt marketing event from the Canadian Airline, WestJet.

Actually 19 million people have viewed it directly on Youtube, more on social media channels and millions upon millions have read about it thanks to all the press its garnered in just the week since it was posted.

How did they achieve such success?

Let's start with the concept. It's big. No, not just big, huge. I can barely get the shopping done for my family in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Buying Christmas gifts for 250 people in just a few hours is a massive undertaking.

It was executed perfectly.

Starting with Santa on video gathering wishes, to the army of employees who were sent to do the shopping to the decorations around the baggage carousel, they nailed every detail. It was magical from start to finish.

This effort was clearly genuine, heartfelt and relevant, promoting the company's real differentiator, service.

The result is that for less than the cost of producing a national TV commercial, WestJet was able to create international fame. This is an incredible marketing achievement that is sure to be honored at Cannes and every other advertising festival next year.

The question is, how can they take the momentum from this event and use it to build their business in the coming year? Their brand now stands for 'miracles' and they have to deliver on that promise on a regular basis, maybe not with grand stunts like this, but little gestures that demonstrate how much they care about their passengers. Otherwise, this big event is just marketing and all the energy it created will be drained as quickly as the batteries in a child's toy on Christmas morning.

I'm assuming that a company smart enough to create and execute this event knows that. So I'm looking forward to seeing what they do next.