Can WestJet top last year’s viral hit?

The airliner kicked off its third holiday stunt, this time taking the Dominican Republic by storm.

Can WestJet duplicate last year’s uber-successful “Christmas Miracle” campaign again this year?

For the brand’s latest holiday push, it went to the Dominican Republic, setting up a blue sleigh and having locals chat virtually with a blue-clad Santa, telling him what they wanted for Christmas. This was part of the brand’s CSR platform, Live Different, which has been building homes in the town of Nuevo Renacer since 2012.

Like last year’s push, the brand rushed to fulfill the orders, this time setting up shop on a beach to deliver the presents.

Posted last night, “The Spirit of Giving” has already garnered buzz, getting picked up on social channels and radio news programs. But will it beat last year’s impressive 36 million+ viewers?

“The [number of views] is nice because it means more people are able to experience these things, but we don’t do it for views,” says Robert Palmer, WestJet’s manager of public relations. “But views are a by-product of the fact that people are sharing the video, and that makes us happy. What we do is create experiences for people and the video portion is just the output.”

The brand worked again with Studio M for the video and Mosaic on PR outreach.

“The Spirit of Giving” touches on what Palmer calls WestJet’s “caring corporate culture,” also reflected in the company’s other online video work. This includes not only past holiday videos, but ones like a reunion filmed for Father’s Day, or marking the beginning of WestJet’s service to New York City by flying a group from Big Brothers Big Sisters to the city for a day, or the work done for Above and Beyond, a web platform where travellers share stories about individuals they know that make a difference in the lives of those they meet.

“Christmas is a very special time of year, but it’s just an extension of what we have been doing for a long time on a year-round basis, not just for the holidays or the winter season. We have a longstanding history of having fun with our guests,” Palmer says, a history that includes feel-good stories but also sillier things like WestJet’s April Fool’s Day videos.

Some of the stories from Above and Beyond have been adapted into ads for television that are currently running. Palmer couldn’t say how the budget on WestJet’s digital video work compared to more traditional campaigns, saying it was all part of the company’s strategy, but did say that digital elements have been growing at the airline since it began doing these videos and saw the positive response from Canadians.

“We obviously are pushing on all of our social channels, because one thing we’ve learned is that people really do enjoy being able to share the experiences, which is why we’ve been doing this again and again.”