WestJet Christmas Video Captures Emotion

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When it comes right down to it, the thing video does better than any other medium is capture and communicate emotion. If you ever needed an example, the WestJet Christmas video is it.

The idea for the production was simple but bold. Have a Santa Claus ask passengers prior to their flight what they want for Christmas. Then, dispatch Westjet team members to buy the gifts and have them ready when the passengers arrive at their destination.

That must have been one heck of a pitch by the marketing staff. It’s a home run idea. An expensive one, but a home run idea none the less.

It was a sure hit because the idea was bound to elicit emotions. Laughter, tears, shock… you name it… the concept was custom-made to generate those types of responses. Capture it all on video and put it into the hands of a quality storyteller, and you have the makings for a terrific video.

What businesses can learn from the WestJet Christmas Video

What business leaders need to takeaway from the WestJet Christmas video is just how impressive the power of video and storytelling can be for their company. As an American, I had never even heard of WestJet before this video. It’s a Canadian Airline. Now, thanks to this video the company is on my radar.

I know what a lot of small business people are thinking. The takeaway is to dream-up a big idea, back it with a big budget and you can produce an awesome video. Don’t fall into that trap.

You can do this for your business. You don’t even need the “big idea.”

Think differently about emotions

The mistaken assumption a lot business people make is they don’t have emotional stories to tell. That’s just wrong.

Anyone who feels that way needs to broaden the way they look at the word, “emotion.” Say that word and talk about video and many people immediately assume it means you’re trying to make people laugh or cry. Both are fantastic reactions to get from a video. In the case of the WestJet Christmas video, the audience gets both. Like I said, home run.

Here’s the thing though… those aren’t the only emotions that should matter to a business producing a video.

One definition of emotion according to Merriam-Webster is “a state of feeling.” What if the majority of people who watched a marketing video produced by your company walked away feeling good about the business? Feeling confident that you’re a quality company? Believing you can get the job done?

From a marketing perspective, would you be happy with that? I sure hope so. There are all sorts of positive emotions your videos can elicit. You don’t need to get a laugh or shed a tear for videos to be a success.

Okay smarty-pants, where do we find these stories? 

Do you have team members? How about customers? If so, then you have stories to tell. You just need to start looking for them.

Every one of the people who works at your company or hires your company has a story. They all have stories that relate back to their jobs and your business. Telling their stories allows your customers and prospects to get to know the people who are serving them. The more they get to know the people at your company and the people you serve, the more they’ll want to buy from you. It’s human nature. We tend to buy from people we like.

Sounds good but still struggling with how to do it at your business? Ask for help. Start contacting experienced storytellers who can help you bring those stories to life and put them to work for your company.

You don’t need a home run idea like the WestJet Christmas video. You can have video success with the stories already populating your company.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.

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