Nothing Like Christmas Cheer to Go Viral

Could this be a Christmas number one for years to come?

WestJet’s Christmas Miracle video is a fusion of some of the most important aspects of viral video production. First and foremost, it is storytelling. And one of the greatest traditions in the Western world is Christmas stories and the Christmas miracle. WestJet went into this video understanding the power of that narrative. While their airline is cleverly branded throughout the video, actual mention of the airline verbally is kept to a minimum, instead focusing on the story itself. Viewers are drawn in to watch the compelling story unfold – a story they will want to share with friends and loved ones over the holidays.

In addition, the story starts off quickly. Viewers begin by wondering what is being set up. This is seamlessly followed by the video screen of the interactive Santa. Viewers are “in on the trick” and can enjoy people being surprised when they’re spoken to by name. This behind the scenes approach is significant because it allows viewers to feel like they are part of this delightful trick being played on the unsuspecting travellers. It is also a pervasive theme throughout the story as viewers can be a part of the hectic surprise being planned at the end of the trip, all the way to the point where the travellers receive their presents. This rapid start and continual escalation are keys to drawing the audience into the story; at no point is there a place to rest or does the tension diminish.

Click to watch the brilliant video and find out a bit more about the campaign.

Finally, this video incorporates a double dose of an important element in viral videos: surprise. Not only does the video surprise viewers when they realize what WestJet is doing, but it also allows viewers to be “in on the fun” after the reveal – letting them experience the surprise of the WestJet customers as well, and, in keeping with the holiday season, the company manages the surprises in a way that is caring, friendly and appropriate for the holidays.

Overall, the video captures four vital elements of a good viral video:

• It tells a compelling story
• It starts off quickly
• It pleasantly surprises
• It keeps the pace quick and dramatic

WestJet well understood the elements needed to create viral content and, because of that, created an advertisement that would be spread through minimal effort on their part. Compared with the price of traditional advertising, for a few hundred presents the airline has already garnered over 36 million views on YouTube.

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