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The Power of Unexpected Generosity and Kindness: WestJet’s Christmas Video


We have a couple of blog posts on queue our editorial calendar, but one of our writers came across this video that’s been making waves in the web, shared it on our Yammer network, and I knew I have to squeeze this in our blog list today.

WestJet Airlines, in the spirit of the holiday season, surprised passengers by giving them Christmas gifts. And not just any gift! The passengers received exactly the ones they wished for, in a way no one would ever imagine possible.

Watch it. It will make your heart race in anticipation. Then it will make you smile. Sometime in the middle of the video, you might even cry. For a moment you might even wish you were in that Calgary-bound flight. At the end of the video you will most certainly want to share it with your friends.

The video now has over 5 million hits in just a little over 3 days. If that’s not a successful viral campaign, I don’t know what is.

There’s so much to learn about this—lessons on content marketing, customer service, brand awareness, social responsibility (on top of the generous giving, WestJet pledged to donate a certain amount of money to charity when the video reaches 200,000 views), corporate values, social media, etc, etc. But.. let’s not go into that.

Instead, let’s pause for a moment and ponder upon generosity and kindness and how it can make an impact on any business, marketing campaign, and life in general. I’ve been talking about this over and over again—being generous, whether in creating content, building relationships, or providing customer service. It’s a strategy that unfortunately doesn’t have any specific performance metric, but almost always brings home long-term, big-picture results.

Beyond metrics

While any marketing campaign has some conversion metrics attached to it, WestJet’s holiday ad went beyond any KPI, ROI, CIR could ever measure. Some people say the campaign is not going to return investment, others say it’s a publicity stunt. But how can you keep a company from doing something nice for its customers?

WestJet Airlines made a lot of wishes come true that night. In the process, they also created a strong emotional experience that many of us, viewers, won’t soon forget. This certainly tops any customer service story we’ve so far seen or heard.

This is what happens when you think beyond metrics. When you go beyond the comforts of your zone and do something unexpected. When you show acts of kindness to random strangers, for the simple joy of making people happy. When you aim to touch hearts, not pockets. Sure, you might get a few million hits as a bonus (and what a bonus that is!). The point is, you made people happy.

WestJet Airlines made an impact all over the world with this 5-minute video. And people are going to remember their name long after this holiday season is over.

Now that, is mission accomplished.