My Photography

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Not so much of a Christmas miracle...

OK so we all know that video that's going around Facebook right now-- unsuspecting fliers are asked by a giant televised Santa what they want for Christmas, and lo and behold they get everything they asked for at the carousel upon arrival. I've seen comments along the lines of:

"This left me in tears!"
"WOW! So beautiful!"
"What Christmas is all about!"  Etc.

If you haven't bothered to watch it yet, take a look:

Many comments come from people I respect and whose opinion I value, but this time I really don't get it. Watching the video made me feel really uncomfortable, and after a few days pondering it, I think I've realized why.

Let's think about Westjet, a Canadian budget airline, and it's intentions for a moment... Was it really providing people their greatest Christmas wishes out of the goodness of its heart? Can an airline even have a heart? 

I was raised in a  family that emphasized the giving part of Christmas a lot. Having now spent multiple Christmases with other families, the abnormality of that fact has struck me. For many others, Christmas is all about get get get, and it doesn't really matter who is giving what. In my case, encouraged by my parents, I've made or bought at least one gift for each member of my family every Christmas since I was really quite small (and I have 6 siblings to boot). Granted, they were sometimes pretty lame, but even when I just go my brothers a cool pen and some candy, it still made something flutter inside me to see them opening my gift to them. Their smiles warmed my heart, as cheesy as it sounds. But that feeling should be a big part of the joy of Christmastime. 

Many smiles, even tears, appear in Westjet's video, on people ecstatic to get what they wanted. It shows a young couple with a baby and another on the way in tears receiving a huge-screen TV. A pre-teen in shock having opened a Samsung tablet.  Women holding plane tickets so they could go home for the holiday. I'm just as happy for those people as any of you are... but where are the smiles of those who were GIVING these gifts? And WHO were those people? The directors of Westjet? The employees who did the shopping? The flight attendants and captain? 

What it comes down to is this video only shows the "gimme gimme gimme" side of the holiday.

Before watching this video, had you ever heard of Westjet? I sure hadn't. But I do know that in the future whenever I hear of the airline again my mind will immediately jump to the thought of their video. "Oh yea... that's the airline that gave all those people Christmas presents." 

This video was a very extravagant publicity stunt, and without a doubt has done (and is doing) much more for Westjet's image than sponsoring any number of Fun-Runs or contributing any amount of cash to any however-deserving charity. While I think (hope) that most people do realize on some level that this is all advertising, we're all still buying it! 

Maybe I'm just being a grinch, but I didn't see the real spirit of Christmas in this video. And it's hardly a "miracle," as its title proclaims... simply smart marketing.

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