IAB Canada’s Video Spotlight – January – #ACgiftofhome

True Reach: 3,637,248 views
Air Canada
Release date: 12/3/14
Social Interactions: 81,071

Last month we took a look at WestJet’s Christmas Miracle 2014, the airline’s sequel to its popular 2013 stunt campaign. But WestJet wasn’t the only airline making waves with video over the holidays. Air Canada scored a big hit with its own take on a holiday stunt, #ACgiftofhome.

The emotional ad begins with two uniformed pilots walking into the Maple Leaf pub in London – a popular spot with Canadian expats. They talk with the pub patrons, asking them what they miss about Canada. In the process, they hear that many of the pub-goers aren’t able to make it home for the holidays, mostly because of money.

Then the pilots make an announcement. They are going to offer everyone in the pub a round in honor of the holiday season. “When we say a round, we mean round trip tickets for everyone to go back to Canada for the holiday season,” explains one pilot.

Their announcement is met with cheers and a lot of tears, followed by phone calls home and the singing of “O Canada.”

The campaign, which was created by JWT and jump-started with paid promotion by Mindshare, has garnered a True Reach® of more than 3.6 million views and 81,000 social interactions. That makes #ACgiftofhome the airline’s most viewed campaign ever.

Stunts have long been one of the most popular creative approaches for online video. While early stunt campaigns relied on shock and awe tactics, the approach has evolved of late. Now brands are using stunts to elicit powerful emotions from the subjects in the videos, as well as the viewers at home.

There’s no doubt that the big surprise in Air Canada’s campaign – and the reaction it gets from the pub-goers – pulls at the viewers heart strings. But the reason that #ACgiftofhome makes us well up so much – and the reason that it has been watched and shared so many times – isn’t because it is a stunt.

Air Canada’s campaign is so successful because it draws on a feeling that people around the world can relate to – homesickness.

If you’ve ever spent the holidays, or birthdays, or any special event away from family, you’ve felt that homesickness. And if you’ve ever been reunited with family after time apart, you know the happiness that those pub-goers are going to feel when they land in Canada.

In the end, the stunt approach works well for Air Canada’s message, but it is the universal message that makes the campaign work.

What do you think of the #ACgiftofhome campaign? Please leave a comment below!