Q&A: Insight into “WestJet Christmas Miracle: Uniting Through Traditions” | Marketing Maestros | Blogs | ANA

Insight into “WestJet Christmas Miracle: Uniting Through Traditions”

October 2, 2019

By Denise McDevitt


After WestJet’s 2019 REGGIE Award success, the ANA’s Denise McDevitt sat down with Corey Evans, senior manager of content at WestJet, to chat about the campaign. Read on to learn key insights on brand activation, longform storytelling, and setting the right KPIs.


Q. How did your team come up with the Big Idea?

For us, the WestJet Christmas Miracle has become an annual tradition seen by millions all over the world so we always know we’ll be in market around the holidays. The first thing we do is set our objectives and KPI’s for the project and then the concept is developed with our internal experiential marketing team in cooperation with our agency partner studio M. It’s never one big idea that gets us there, it’s 100 smaller decisions that finally gets us to the finished concept and how we are going to execute it.


Q. What factors contributed to your selecting the brand activation strategies/touchpoints that were in your winning program?

For Uniting Through Traditions, we wanted to tell the story that WestJet was no longer a domestic carrier, but with the introduction of our new 787 fleet, we are a global carrier. We developed an advent calendar of content with global traditions and reunion stories for our guests but also diverse groups of Canadians from all over the world who wanted to see their traditions recognized.


Q. In a time when we’re told content should be short, you have gone against the grain and invested in longform storytelling — why?

The debate on content and meaningful storytelling and what length they should be will be never-ending. People are more engaged with long content but more likely to finish short content. At WestJet, completed views is not a KPI we consider. We tell stories for multiple audiences and consider people we know will watch for different lengths. If you watch our content for six, thirty, ninety seconds or four minutes you’ll get different key messages. The hardcore Christmas Miracle fans that come back year over year will watch several pieces of content for their entirety. We don’t want to lessen their experience for the sake of a large percentage that won’t make it to the end.


Q. What KPIs do you use to measure performance of your activations and events?

We use several KPIs from a sales standpoint and typical social metrics. We’ll clone audience and redirect offers. Over the eight years we have done the program, the KPIs are always changing.


Q. What's the number one “lesson learned” your team has gained from this activation?

We set out to create Christmas content that people can consume over the holidays, so we try to stay true to that. People have their favorite movies they watch over the holidays, from Elf to The Sound of Music. We know for many people they come back to see what we have done. In many ways it has become a tradition. We respect that by telling stories more so than selling products as a primary objective.


Q. So what’s next? How will you build off of this success?

I’m really excited for the Christmas Miracle this year. It has been built off of a lot of feedback we have received from Guests over the years. We’re really going back to our roots in experiential marketing and if you liked real-time giving in 2013, you’ll want to tune in. Our hope is that we can once again compete for REGGIE gold.


Q. What is a key takeaway you would want industry leaders to have when it comes to this piece of work?

At WestJet we challenge the team to raise the bar and push the status quo. At WestJet we have a great tradition of holiday content but we also have the responsibility to keep trying new things.

Enter your best brand activation campaigns in the 2020 REGGIE Awards today.

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