Published on: December 13, 2013
by Kevin Coupe
Much has been made this week of a holiday promotion by Canada's West Jet Airlines, in which the company set it up so that some 250 passengers boarding a flight had to tell a kiosk what they wanted for Christmas while getting their boarding passes scanned; when they went to collect their bags at their destination, they found that everything they'd asked for was waiting for them on the luggage carousel.
The entire process was captured on video, and posted to YouTube; at this point, it has been seen by more than 19 million people … which means that West Jet has gotten a lot of free publicity, certainly in excess of what it cost them to buy all those presents (which ranged from socks and underwear to flat screen televisions … it all depended on what people asked for).
You can see the video at left. And it admittedly is heartwarming…
Except, I cannot shake the feeling that all this promotion does is reinforce the notion that you can always get what you want … at least sometimes.
At the risk of being accused of being a Scrooge, I watched the video and only could think that the people getting these presents were all people who could afford plane tickets.
And that maybe the socks and underwear and flat screen televisions and all the other presents might have been better distributed to people who actually are needy.
I don't want to diminish the effort, or the results. But I can't help but think that maybe West Jet missed an even bigger opportunity here.
UPDATE: As of 11 am today, I have received countless emails confirming the fact that, yes, I am a Scrooge who has missed the point. I'll run many of them Monday … but just wanted to say here and now that perhaps I should have shown a little more generosity of spirit this morning, and a little less Bah, Humbug.
- KC's View: