The Grimard family’s story is heartbreaking.
Joel, the Grimard’s youngest child, requires long-term treatment for a congenital heart condition. But the hospital where he receives his treatment is 300 miles away from home. So Joel and his mother, Angela, live in Edmonton, Alberta, while his father, Marc, and his older brother, Mattieu, are at home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Working with the Ronald McDonald House Charities, WestJet decided to give Marc the ultimate Father’s Day surprise — a reunion with Joel and Angela.
In this month’s IAB Canada Video Spotlight, we highlight the documentation of that special gift, a campaign called Father’s Day Surprise.
The five-minute video, created by Cossette, begins with WestJet planning the surprise. In order for Marc to be able to go to Edmonton, WestJet arranges for one of its employees, Medel Villena, to cover the father’s hours as a city transit worker. We see Medel train to take over Marc’s job and then surprise him with the news, which is met by tears not only from Marc, but also his fellow transit workers.
The camera then follows Marc and his son Mattieu on their flight to Edmonton where they are reunited with the other half of their family. There they spend a week living and playing at the Ronald McDonald House.
The video has garnered a True Reach® more than 600,000 views and had nearly 60,000 social interactions since its release on June 4. True Reach combines the brand-driven viewership and audience-driven viewership, which include copies and derivative content like responses, spoofs, mixes, and mashups from video sites across the web.
The video is likely to keep racking up views, however, as the Canadian airline has promised to reunite more Ronald McDonald House families for every 100,000 views the campaign receives.
WestJet has made a concerted effort to stake its claim in the branded video space since last year. And it’s found success in filming real people being surprised with incredible gifts.
Last December, WestJet had its biggest hit to date with Christmas Miracle. In the video, Santa Claus by surprised passengers at baggage claim with personalized presents. It has a True Reach of more than 38.4 million views.
The success of WestJet’s campaigns is easily explained – they all draw out positive emotion and values from their viewers. Emotion is a powerful force in branded video. When a viewer feels something, as they do for the Grimards, they are more likely to talk about it and share it with their friends. Publications are more likely to write about.
All of that activity is earned media, which drives brand engagement, efficiency, and effectiveness. According to research conducted by Visible Measures in partnership with Insight Express, an earned video view is on average 40% more valuable than a paid view in its ability to drive brand consideration and purchase intent.
And that’s reason enough for brands to get in the branded video game.