Don’t have a cow! WestJet’s new video goes against the herd

CALGARY — It’s easy to feel like you’re part of a herd when travelling, standing in line after line and being shuffled around like cattle. Not so with WestJet, and its new national campaign is setting out to prove it.

Launching today, the campaign kicks off with a new video that shows an airport full of CGI-inserted cows, riding the escalator, checking in for their flight, waiting for their luggage at the baggage carousel, and checking a departures board featuring several delays. A few unlucky bovines are also shown being bumped off their flight due to overbooking, and then being denied help by a front-desk agent.

But then, like Moses parting the Red Sea, a beaming couple enters the terminal, followed by a long line of equally happy passengers, and they proceed to WestJet’s departures area where they are greeted warmly by a WestJet agent. As WestJet is Canada’s “most on-time airline”, it’s no surprise that their flight leaves right on time.

“An airline should treat people like people,” the commercial reads. The carrier also proudly states that it does not overbook and was voted TripAdvisor’s Best Airline in Canada.

“We want the travelling public to know that as we become a global network carrier, we will never lose sight of the caring WestJet touch,” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet Vice-President Marketing Communications. “Travel can be unpredictable and this campaign represents how we will always try to put ourselves in our guests shoes by delivering the caring guest experience that has made WestJet stand out from the herd.”

But even if cows were to one day take over an airport, they’d still be in good hands with WestJet. According to a behind-the-scenes video of the campaign, the airline made cow safety a priority on set, with a zero tolerance for risk of injury. This meant real cows were only used for close-up shots, animals were walked in twos or threes to reduce stress, and vinyl was laid down throughout the set to be used as traction. The crew was also instructed to not yell, talk or get into the cows’ eye line to ensure their comfort at all times.

“Our airline has been built on one word – care,” said Richard Bartrem. “Filming with cows is no different and we took great care of them.”

The campaign will run from coast to coast starting the night of Canada’s federal election and carrying throughout the holidays.

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