WestJet goes global for Christmas campaign

Who: WestJet and StudioM

What: A two-part Christmas campaign called “Uniting through traditions,” emphasizing the airliner’s growing global ambitions.

How: 1) A four-minute film that keeps up the WestJet holiday tradition of doing nice things for people—in this case reuniting loved ones from around the world.

2) A digital “Advent Calendar” that will see a new video posted each day featuring WestJet’s blue-clad Santa learning about holiday traditions around the world.

Why: WestJet has been working toward expanding its reach internationally, an effort that will really take off in 2019 with the arrival of new long-haul Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. That will mean expanded routes to Europe first, although other markets are on the WestJet wish list.

And we quote: “Since our first Christmas Miracle in 2013, WestJet’s tradition has been to celebrate and promote the Christmas spirit with our guests through our caring culture. This year we’re thrilled to be able to take our Canadian spirit to the world through Blue Santa’s travels, while bringing some of the world’s spirit back home with us to share” – WestJet’s vice-president of marketing, Richard Bartrem.

What else? It seems growing reach meant growing ad budgets. WestJet says the advent calendar will include 16 countries in six continents, with new videos every day. That seems like a lot of production money. The first advent video sees Blue Santa in Haiti, where he is told about the holiday tradition of kids putting out straw-filled shoes on Christmas Eve, with Santa replacing the straw with gifts. In the video Santa gives a group of school kids new Under Armor shoes (an ad within an ad?) and is then shown visiting some of the children’s houses to deliver a gift. -David Brown

David Brown