Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Did you see the WestJet Christmas surprise video?

Asked by JLeslie (65568points) December 11th, 2013

Such a great idea. Here is the video. I love it!

Can you see any negatives? I can’t. It’s all good. Great marketing idea and just a nice thing to do.

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58 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I am somewhat disgusted.

longgone's avatar

@ragingloli Shut it, Scrooge, this is a Christmas Miracle. The era of evil is over. ~

I hadn’t seen that. I don’t even care that it’s just marketing, still made me smile.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Brilliant. I got teary eyed at the baggage carousel part.

JLeslie's avatar

I teared up a little too. :)

I don’t think it is just marketing, I think they enjoyed doing it. Santa is real.

jonsblond's avatar

Can you explain it to those of us who don’t want to watch the video? (I don’t want to waste bandwidth limit on a commercial, but I’m curious what this is about since it’s all over fb.)

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Good old Canadians! :) I got choked up, too.

WestJet’s Canadian.

ragingloli's avatar

It is a lie.
First of all, I do not even know whether or not this is all staged, and if all the lucky “winners” are actors.
And even if they are not, the fact remains is that the only reason they did it is for advertisement (or ‘advertizement’ for the americans), to make more money and maximise profits, not to “do good”.
Which makes the entire thing an exercise of farcical corruption.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond I purposely didn’t to not ruin the surprise. Not sure if I made the right call? I’ll PM you though with what happens.

longgone's avatar

@JLeslie If it wasn’t marketing, they wouldn’t have made it clear that WestJet is behind it.
Still, there are all sorts of marketing strategies, and I think this is a lovely one.

JLeslie's avatar

Of course it is marketing, I said that in my first post. But, I think the employees enjoyed doing it also. Are you say it didn’t happen at all and it is just an ad? That’s possible of course. Best Buy and some others also were in on it, they got their mention also. Thing is the news stations are reporting it as real. Seems like they should check before they do that. But, I am dissappointed with the news in general anyway. Supposedly, WestJet has done this before. According to those reporting it.

JLeslie's avatar

Here is a news article I found with the details.

jonsblond's avatar

Now that @JLeslie has filled me in, I’m kind of leaning towards agreeing with @ragingloli. You would think there would be at least one person who would have asked for a cure for their mother’s cancer or some other illness in the family. WestJet can’t provide that in a surprise package.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@jonsblond These were people from only one flight, though.

GoldieAV16's avatar

“Can you see any negatives?”

No, it’s even given the cynics something to feel cynical about. Win/win! ;-p

JLeslie's avatar

The article states that they couldn’t fufill all the requests. A woman who asked for a car got a toy one and a woman who asked for a man got a Ken doll, and some people didn’t play along at all.

I always ask for health, or something simiar, when someone tells me I can make a wish. I think from now on I will answer with something tangible if I am actually going to say it out loud or write it down.

longgone's avatar

@jonsblond “You would think there would be at least one person who would have asked for a cure for their mother’s cancer” They only showed a very small number of people, though. I’m guessing someone probably did.

@JLeslie No, I don’t think it’s fake. I believe we’re agreeing, you’re just a little more enthusiastic. I like what WestJet did, but I’m keeping in mind that it was, essentially, marketing. In a fun way.

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone We are basically agreeing. I think if it is real, and not just staged, if they really made it happen for those passengers, it is a little more than just an ad.

amujinx's avatar

@Mama_Cakes It was two flights, one from Hamilton and one from Toronto.

It’s obviously a marketing ploy, and while it’s a cool thing to do marketing-wise, it just cashes in on the already rampant commercialism of Christmas. I’ll agree with @ragingloli on being disgusted, and I’ll freely admit I’m a scrooge when it comes to a holiday about rampant consumerism.

Seek's avatar

Meh.

I mean, yay, people who paid for a ticket on their airline got a bonus prize so the big corporation could film a commercial.

Whoop-de-friggin’-doo.

tom_g's avatar

What the shit?

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Shaking my head over here. You people. ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

@amujinx I’m disgusted by the commercialism of Christmas too, but I still love the video. I like how my family does the holidays with gifts for the children in the family but no gift trades among adults, except for once in a blue moon if a person feels moved to give someone a gift. It isn’t done in a big gift opening in front of everyone deal though with the adults. But, a surprise Christmas gift once in a while from santa is cool.

Seek's avatar

^ You’re right, @Mama_Cakes

OMG! It’s a Christmas miracle! A bunch of pretty, well-fed Americans with enough money to ride an airplane got a free Thomas the Tank Engine toy to add to their child’s probably already massive collection of toys! Some dude got new underwear! How kind and selfless of WestJet to do this thing completely anonymously and for those people who truly could use the help.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Canadians and a Canadian airline

. I’ve flown with them and they’re a wonderful airline. So glad that I live over here! :)

tom_g's avatar

Thanks, @Seek_Kolinahr. You nailed it. That’s one of the more depressing videos I have seen in a long time.

Lorna's avatar

Thank you so much for sharing that. I am sat here with tears streaming down. What a wonderful ad. It’s nice to see people that care, especially at Christmas time. Really nice.

ucme's avatar

I love xmas, all for spreading festive joy, but I just want to punch that voice-over guy repeatedly in the face on general principle alone & that fucking cheesy song the woman belted out was, well…typical American schmaltz.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Glac..fellow Canuck, help me out here! lol

I think that it’s awesome. Have fun being a bunch of Scrooges. Debbie Downers! ;-)

Seek's avatar

^ Amend my former statement to “Canadians” or “North Americans”, however you see fit.

glacial's avatar

I think it’s great cross-brand marketing, and I agree @JLeslie that the WestJet staffers probably had a blast doing it. I’m seeing a lot of people post this on Facebook. I don’t know if you are familiar with WestJet, but they have a reputation for having tremendous customer service, and people tend to be fanatically loyal to them, kind of like Mac users – they attract the same demographic. I’ve flown with them several times, and I don’t think they’re all that awesome. I’ve had equal numbers of good and bad experiences with Air Canada, which is our other big airline. But I’m sure they’ll get a boost from this ad, and it will make them better known in central/eastern Canada, which is what they’re likely hoping for.

glacial's avatar

@jonsblond I know, most folks who posted this ended up saying, “That guy who asked for socks must be SO pissed.” But I don’t think it’s fair to complain that someone who is giving something to others is not giving enough or giving the right things. They did a nice, surprising, inventive thing. I think we can just enjoy it.

lol, I read your post again, and realize that’s not what you were saying – but others have done a good job of responding to your point. @ragingloli, I’m a cynic where ads are concerned, but I have no doubt this was real. It’s exactly the kind of thing WestJet would do.

@JLeslie I think our two big Canadian airlines compare very well against American airlines, but I wouldn’t say there’s much to distinguish them from each other. But since Air Canada’s image is to be the stalwart steadfast airline, it’s not going to pull stunts like this.

JLeslie's avatar

I never heard of WestJet before today. Actually, I probably have seen their name or their planes at airports, but it never stuck with me. Now, if I ever fly to Canada or within Canada I will think of them. Brilliant in my opinion. Great branding.

jonsblond's avatar

I’ll shed a joyful tear when WestJet surprises a bunch of children in a homeless shelter.

Lorna's avatar

I wish I could have attended something like that when my kids were younger, to have seen their faces light up would have been magical.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond WestJet does give support to a lot of children’s charities. A list is on this link. Ronald McDonald House, Make a Wish, Big Brothers Big Sisters and many more.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

“WestJet is proud to work with Hope Air. Dedicated to arranging free air transportation for Canadians who are in financial need and require non-emergency medical care outside their home communities, Hope Air was founded in 1986 and has arranged close to 70,000 flights.”

longgone's avatar

Most of us will give gifts to our kids on Christmas. Do they need all that stuff? Of course not. Why is it worse when a company chooses to make some random people happy?

We all give gifts to feel good about ourselves. The only difference is that in this case, WestJet is using their advertising funds for individual people. A television spot wouldn’t have made anyone smile.

In a fairer world, there would not be any non-essential air travel until everyone is fed. Here, though, the choice is not between a nice surprise and real charity. A company that doesn’t advertise dies. So, either we get yet another commercial, or it’s something like this.

ucme's avatar

Coulda been worse I suppose, the Westboro Christmas surprise video…“Fag Santa burns in hell!”

Seek's avatar

@longgone To me, this is just another commercial.

Actually, it’s worse than just another commercial. It’s salesmanship.

Look at what we do that is completely beside the point of the service we provide! Give us your money because we’re Santa!

jonsblond's avatar

As a person who is just hoping her mother (and the grandmother of her children) is still alive at Christmas, I’m not going to shed a tear for people who received a random gift when they can already afford to travel by air. That doesn’t tug at my heartstrings right now. People who truly need help and receive it will tug at my heartstrings.

This is just another commercial. I agree.

longgone's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr “Look at what we do that is completely beside the point of the service we provide!”
Yes, it is beside the point – but then again, a lot of commercials are. The other airtravel commercials I can think of just consist of a fast plane flying through blue sky. All that tells me is I will probably be flying, should I choose that company. Well, wow. I figured. I’d rather see something like this.

@jonsblond I’m not getting teary-eyed either, I just think as commercials go this is a nice idea.
All the best to your mom.

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone The only negative is when companies make huge profits and give huge amounts to charity, but they also pay very low wages and charge such high prices for the services or products that it is inaccessible to many people. I am not accusing WestJet of this, I assume Canada has better wages than America. I have no idea what WestJet fares are like. I also don’t know how taxes work in Canada and if the “system” makes it financially beneficial to give away money for tax reasons. I believe in giving to charity, but I also think when it comes to charities for the poor, we need to reconize that better wages would mean we would have fewer people who are poor.

Delta airlines in my opinion gouges people on so many routes it makes me sick. If they had done this PR stunt, I might not be so googoo gaga over it once I spent time thinking about it. Although, no matter what I think it is creative and I love the surprise for the passengers who did receive the gifts. If they are going to spend advertising money, I prefer this over a regular commercial. No matter what there is still magic in it for me and creative marketing. They did it in cooperation with Best Buy and the other retailers so the items might have been sold at cost, or less, or free, or some discount of some sort so that all WestJet incurred financially was paying employees and filming.

gailcalled's avatar

Had I been one of the passengers, I would have asked for a reduction in my fare valued at the equivalent of a 50” TV. WestJet also gets lots of bad reviews on flight comfort, convenience and staff courtesy. This stunt left a bad taste in my mouth (similar to the food WJ serves, I am told.) How many more toys do most kids need, anyway?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Perhaps it is slick marketing, but I really didn’t see it coming. Personally I was genuinely touched and nearly cried at the very idea of something pleasant happening to ANYONE at an airport. I’m hoping that some baggage handler or ticket counter person thought it up, and passed it up the chain of command, and befitting a Christmas miracle, not a single stick-up-his-ass corporate scrooge chose to kill it. Miraculous indeed. In the end, I don’t care if the the thing was a stunt dreamed up by some “Mad Man” agency. The looks on those kid’s faces and the opportunity for a bunch of wage slaves to actually run around grabbing up presents for others unrestrained——it all makes me feel rather good. By the way, you’re all welcome and encouraged to run out and gleefully shop for a present for ME. The bakers among you need not even leave your cozy kitchens in this cold snap. And remember “If you haven’t got a turkey leg, a turkey wing will do, and if you haven’t got a turkey wing, well God bless you”

geeky_mama's avatar

I agree with @stanleybmanly – I don’t care what the back story is, I don’t mind that it was for promoting West Jet – I still got completely teary-eyed and excited for the passengers that received the gifts.
I fly nearly every week for work and for the most part there is nothing pleasant about the experience. Any little bright spot (a polite gate agent, a thoughtful flight attendant) means SO very much to me..and helps to counteract the pushy, entitled acting people who got upgraded to First Class seats, the seat armrest-hogs and blatantly selfish people who don’t care who they push out of the way to get to their seat. (I always want to point out: we’re all in this together. ..and wish there was mandatory etiquette training broadcast prior to boarding the aircraft.)
I laud West Jet for getting their employees in on this fun stunt—and I’m sure it was the most memorably positive flight experience any of those passengers ever had. If it makes you want to fly West Jet (and I sure would) – then it was good marketing.

anniereborn's avatar

Well I for one loved it.
You know what I would like for Christmas? My dead brother to still be alive and well. For my mother’s Alzheimer’s to be cured. Guess what, that isn’t going to happen.
So, I’d like a new computer!
Us people who have all our “needs” filled still like to have happy surprises.

YARNLADY's avatar

Sweet.

Have you also heard of the surprise paid layaway’s at Wal Mart and Target? I don’t know which one started it, but supposedly a mysterous stranger paid off the layaway for random people. It turned out to be a marketing scheme and it was actually the company doing it.

ragingloli's avatar

the cat thing was far superior.

jonsblond's avatar

I prefer the Sprint commercials. Totes McGotes.

Buttonstc's avatar

@glacial

That was just too funny. I loved the part where the guy is standing behind a plexi partition not even taller than himself and saying “I doubt if they can jump over something this high. If so, there’s something seriously wrong”.

He obviously is blissfully unaware of the capabilities of the average cat who can jump from the floor to the top of a fridge without thinking twice about it.

Yeah, there’s something seriously wrong all right…..with his understanding of cats.

Too funny.

glacial's avatar

@Buttonstc I thought the same thing! I’ve had cats that would jump to the tops of doors with minimal effort. That guy must never have met a cat.

I did find myself wondering how many cats they had to drop or throw to get those shots – several of them did not look like the cats had jumped of their own accord.

Buttonstc's avatar

I agree. And the slippery surfaces didn’t help matters either.

glacial's avatar

Yup. And lots of signs of stress being shown off as “cute”. It’s almost funny how oblivious they are to how cats behave.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Good Christ, some of you are unbearably cynical aren’t you? I mean I’m an incredibly cynical person who generally thinks of the world as shit, but the day that I can’t appreciate a little token that puts a smile on someone else’s face, no matter how well off that person may be, (and no matter if the giver is just doing it for PR) is the day I put a gun in my mouth.

jonsblond's avatar

Not appreciating a commercial makes one cynical? Now that’s funny We are sharing our opinions about a commercial. Do you think WestJet would have done this without the advertisement?

anniereborn's avatar

@jonsblond Who cares if they would or wouldn’t have done it without the commercial?
They did it and brought joy to over 300 people with gifts and to many many more who watched it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@jonsblond If you think my post was about not appreciating a commercial then you entirely missed the point (anniereborn got it).

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