The viral videos that Canadian airline WestJet has become adept at producing over the last few years are aimed at a somewhat atypical audience.
“We’re not really telling stories to millennials like a lot of people,” says Corey Evans, WestJet’s manager for sponsorship, community investment and experiential marketing, in an interview with Beet.TV. “We’re looking at an older demographic [for] when it comes to deciding who you’re going to fly with.”
WestJet’s April Fools Day and Christmas spots have gained considerable media attention, especially a Christmas video from 2013 where passengers shared their Christmas wishes before boarding their flights and staff rushed to fulfill those orders before the planes landed. To date, the video has garnered almost 42 million views on YouTube. Evans observes that it’s been seen in every country in the world, including North Korea, and there have been six views in Vatican City, “so we always joke the Pope must have seen it a couple of times.”
Due to press coverage of the videos, earned media was easy, at least the first couple of times. On the paid side, WestJet spends on promoted tweets and trends on Twitter, as well as on placement via companies like Virool. Facebook is still a secondary spend channel for video, after YouTube.
Evans observes that it used to be that a marketer would pull off a media stunt, get coverage, and then it would be over.
“Now you can package it up into a content piece and share it with people and who knows where it will end up,” he says.