WestJet promotes its first long-haul route ‘Ricky Gervais’ style

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This case appears in the October 2015 edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly report by airlinetrends.com and Simpliflying that identifies the latest innovative marketing campaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more »

WestJet has taken inspiration from mockumentary comedy like Ricky Gervais in ‘The Office’ and ‘An Idiot Abroad,’ to create its latest 90-second spot promoting the airline’s new low-fares flights between Toronto and London.

The premise is of a long-distance romance between Dave, in England, and his girlfriend Katie, in Canada. To save money on flights to visit his sweetheart, Dave disguises himself to travel as a dog.

For most of the video Dave boasts to the camera of the genius of his scheme, but, as the video ends, the camera zooms-in on an ad in the newspaper thrown into Dave’s cage, with a printed ad of WestJet’s new GBP194 one-way fares from Gatwick to Toronto.

In a last line as heart-wrenching as it is side-splitting, Dave the Dog says: “Is that a misprint? I’m eating kibble!”

Richard Bartrem, VP marketing communications at West Jet, said the ad reflects WestJet’s “fun and friendly attitude”.

The launch of this ad follows the airline’s introduction of its new 767-300 service, with new cabins and a new logo, all in preparation WestJet’s first long-haul service.

Surprisingly, the video has just over 78,000 views on YouTube so far. In comparison, WestJet’s viral Christmas Miracle has generated over 41 million views.

This could be a simple matter of timing, or a sign that heart-strings can trump funny bones, when it comes to on-line viewership.

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