Swoop lands on a content-led approach

WestJet's new discount carrier helped reunite a family in Las Vegas in the third phase of its early marketing efforts.

On the heels of a brand-building year for the new discount carrier, Swoop used the Family Day long weekend to make its first major foray into content marketing.

At the centre of its “#OnlyOnSwoop” campaign – unveiled on Feb. 19, the statutory holiday known as Family Day in several provinces – is a two-minute video featuring a surprise reunion vacation of the Kryk family, arranged by the carrier in partnership with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). The spot captures the reactions of the 21-member family as they reunite and visit top attractions in Las Vegas.

The social-led campaign includes a seat sale in which entrants are given a chance to win round-trip tickets for up to six people to any Swoop destination. It is being supported with a digital-on-demand media buy featuring 15- and 30s pre-roll teasers driving to a campaign landing page where people can watch the full-length sport, enter the contest and learn more about Swoop.

“We really believe that the cost of air travel shouldn’t get in the way of family fun, vacations, reunions, and those memory-making experiences that matter most,” says Kelly Steward, marketing lead on the Swoop brand. “The Family Day long weekend was the perfect time to share that vision with our travellers and celebrate the importance of family.”

The WestJet-owned airline launched a brand awareness campaign after beginning its first flights in June, then shifted its marketing efforts towards driving revenue and optimizing conversion rates for the rest of the year, Steward says. Having gained a better understanding of its customers over that period, the company has been able to “refine the brand identity opportunities for meaningful content marketing activities.”

Steward says Las Vegas remains an important destination for Canadians, which explains the prominent role the city is playing the brand’s communications and those of its parent company. WestJet has similarly made Las Vegas experiential campaigns a centerpiece of its marketing, including last year’s #WestJetSeatCity and its roulette wheel activation the year before.

At Swoop, the strategy is aimed at redefining the way people think about travel. Accustomed to legacy carriers offering bundled affairs, Canadians don’t often think about “jumping on a flight” for a day trip, last-minute weekend getaway or a destination family reunion, because the option hasn’t always been an accessible one, says Steward. “Swoop fares make it possible to fly more often, in a larger group or for occasions that weren’t previously considered.”

Other brands, including Cineplex and Air Canada, have also made reuniting families a part of their marketing efforts in recent years, delivering emotional messages during family-focused occasions, namely the winter holidays.

Swoop’s “#OnlyOnSwoop” is being led by Oliver, who was picked to form an internal agency within WestJet in October to support the airline’s international expansion plans, alongside AOR Rethink. Steward says the in-house model is an effective solution for startups like Swoop with “lean teams and lofty goals.”