Cats on a Plane: Heart-Warming Holiday Campaigns

Modern Marketing


First off, Happy Holidays! This is definitely my favorite time of year. I love the snow (I’m originally from the Chicago area), the music, the family, the food…and the creatively heartfelt marketing campaigns! This year, I’ve come across two particularly innovative, holiday-themed campaigns.

Christmas + Cats = AWESOME SAUCE

Go to right meow. Whether you’re cute-ed out or creeped out, you’ll definitely sit and watch the awkward, drunken elf guy with the Grumpy Cat sweater, and the elderly knitting woman who embodies “The Cat Lady Who Lives Down the Street” (I totally had one of those).

christmas cats

Once you’re able to tear your eyes away from adorable cats doing adorable cat things, you’ll notice the actual purpose of the site: promoting animal adoption!

That’s right, between December 4th and 6th, viewers could actually adopt the cats they were seeing in the video. (Now the channel is just playing reruns, but you can still watch! You can also still adopt adorable kittie-witties!) You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, that’s pretty cool!” Giving cats a home for the holidays, watching cats play, and seeing a saucy grandma and elf interact with the cats in a holiday setting – it’s definitely a neat campaign.

But wait! There’s more! With the comments box at the bottom of the screen, viewers were not only able to interact with other Christmas Cats enthusiasts, but also tell the two entertainers what to do. Seriously, if you’d told them to lie on the floor and have the cats walk on them, they would have done it! If you’d told them to do a jig, they would have jigged! And if you’d told them to drink…well, they would have done that on their own.

Of course, this campaign also had a social component – fans can tweet and post their love for the program, using the hashtag #christmascatstv. And no holiday-themed anything is complete without appropriate music! Not only does Christmas Cats TV have great music (Kenny G, Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand… you can’t go wrong!), but it also allows you to purchase the music featured on the show. What a neat little purrrrrrk!

‘Twas the Flight Before Xmas

Canadian airline WestJet gets the 2013 “Melt My Heart Award” for their Christmas Miracle campaign. First, the airline set up a gift kiosk at the gates of a few flights headed to Calgary. There was a large screen, offering passengers a live web chat with a Santa Claus (all decked out in some slick lookin’ purple threads, I might add).

westjet christmas santa

The passengers told the Santa what they wanted for Christmas, and as they swiped their boarding passes, the Santa was able to see their ticketing information. This meant that the Santa automatically knew people’s names – proof, for many of the youngest passengers, of St. Nick’s magical abilities.

Santa then asked the passengers what their holiday wished were. (Note: he wasn’t just asking kids – business passengers flying alone could talk to Santa too. Stop crying.) Responses ranged from “a big TV” to “socks and underwear.” And once it was time to board, everyone hopped on the plane, rightfully pleased with the playful interaction WestJet had given them. *High five* to WestJet for bringing the mall to the airport!

Fast forward four hours. The flights land in Calgary, the passengers deboard and go grab their checked baggage… aaaand wrapped gifts are coming down the conveyor belt. Wrapped gifts full of whatever the passengers told Santa that they wanted. No catch, no gimmick, just a token of gratitude for flying with WestJet and, more importantly, a reminder of the giving spirit of the holidays. Airlines seem to be getting better at humanizing their brands (last month, DJ Waldow blogged about Virgin Airline’s safety video) and WestJet is definitely leading the pack.

Grab a box of tissues and check it out:

Now, to tie all of this back to revenue… just kidding! Well, I suppose WestJet could track the purchase trends from the passengers on the Miracle flights, compare it to the purchase trends of all others, and use that to determine the conversion increase by providing Father Christmas on a flight. Marketo obviously makes all of that easy as pumpkin pie.

But that’s not what I feel like writing about, so I’m not going to! 😛

What really wowed me is that WestJet’s Christmas Miracle video got 19.6 million views in under a week. That’s about 3 million people a day (115 thousand people an hour!) who have a new definition of customer appreciation (assuming that they aren’t Scrooges who think of this as a slimy PR scheme, of course).

Showing your customers that you care isn’t always about providing little amenities (pretzels and pillows) or even special discounts (half off flights during your birthday month). Customer appreciation is about letting customers see you as more than a company – you’re a group of people, providing a product or service to another group of people. Interact with customers as you would with friends and family.

How do you show your friends or family that you love and appreciate them? You surprise them with some token of your affection – something that shows that know them, understand them, and genuinely want them to be happy. Now, why wouldn’t a company think the same way? Customers are a company’s closest friends, and should be treated as such.

In conclusion, the holidays are not just a time to spend with loved ones, vacuum up pine needles, and dip into my Dad’s collection of single malt scotches. They’re also a time when companies can combine their business initiatives with a true touch of human spirit and well-being. So get out there and make some marketing miracles happen!