LONDON (AdAge.com) -- Spanair flight JK5208 from Barcelona arrived at Las Palmas on the evening of Dec. 24, at a time when most European families are traditionally enjoying their main Christmas celebration.
As the 190 passengers waited impatiently for their suitcases, they saw the luggage belt lurch into action -- but instead of seeing their own bags, they saw an array of bright, gift-wrapped presents of all shapes and sizes parading past them.
Covered in gold, silver, red, purple and green candy-stripes and decorated with flamboyant ribbons, the unexpected packages chugged past the astonished passengers. People gradually began to notice their own names on the parcels' gift tags, but nervously watched them go past a couple of times before daring to pick them up.
After awhile, they began to pick the presents up and shake them suspiciously for clues as to their contents. Eventually they tore open the wrapping to reveal gifts for every kind of passenger. For the kids there were teddy bears, giant candy bars, toy horses, cars, trumpets, puppets and costumes; and for the adults, beauty products, Lomography cameras and hats.
The passengers directed a spontaneous round of applause at the luggage belt, and each had a heart-warming tale about Spanair -- which markets itself as "La de Todos" or "Everyone's Airline" -- to tell their loved ones at Christmas.
The whole stunt was planned by Spanish ad agency Shackleton, based in Barcelona. The agency's VP, Enric Nel-lo, said in a statement, "We understand the emotional stress of traveling on such a special evening, particularly on one of the last flights, when everyone else is reunited with their families celebrating Christmas Eve. These passengers deserve a gift like the rest, with all the excitement and the surprise factor, too. It was a very special gesture for all those who have no other choice but to fly on the night of December 24th."
Nuria Tarr, commercial director of Spanair, said in the statement, "This action strengthens the company's image in the areas of innovation and closeness to our passengers. We've created a very warm and human brand experience and it's a true reflection of the positioning we have been building since last year."
In less than 48 hours, a YouTube video of the event received more than 100,000 views, and more than 7,000 users shared it on Facebook and Twitter.