WestJet brings together families who are spending the holidays apart in heartwarming film

Those in the travel industry often don’t see their loved ones at Christmas, so the airline brought the loved ones to them

Published On
Dec 01, 2023
A still from WestJet's holiday campaign showing WestJet employees at airport gate in blue holiday hats

Editor's Pick

Thousands of travel and hospitality industry employees spend the Christmas season ensuring that the rest of us get to where we’re going. But to brighten up the season for three such workers who couldn’t go be with their families this winter, WestJet decided to bring their families to them.

In a new ad titled “Holiday Heroes,” the Canadian airline is highlighting the stories of a trio of Vancouver-based essential travel workers; not WestJet employees—who are recognized separately in the opening of both the campaign’s marquee three-minute film and its shorter cuts—but rather those whose roles are often overlooked, but are no less important.

Showcased in the campaign are Ashley Springer, a bus driver with Vancouver’s TransLink public transit system; Killian Kampes, an Irish-born valet attendant at the city’s storied Fairmont Hotel; and Husan Gill, a ramp agent at Vancouver International Airport, each of whom shares why their careers matter to them.

But after revealing the emotional impact of not spending Christmas with their friends and relatives, a narrator chimes in: “Since they couldn’t be with their loved ones, we brought their loved ones to them.”


The spot was handled by independent Canadian shop Rethink, which was named Creative Agency of the Year on Ad Age’s 2023 A-List.

“While airlines, like WestJet, play a huge role [in holiday travel], there’s an entire community of people that also make it happen that we wanted to shine a light on,” said Leia Rogers, executive creative director at Rethink, who emphasized the ad’s focus on real peoples’ stories—and the meticulous planning needed to pull off all three surprise reunions.

To keep the campaign’s intentions secret, the agency initially told Springer, Kampes and Gill that they were participating in a documentary about travel industry employees who work over the holidays.

“For more than a decade, we have created meaningful holiday campaigns that give back to the people and communities we serve,” said Jennifer Callegaro, WestJet’s director of marketing, referring to the company’s annual “Christmas Miracle” efforts.

“We surveyed Canadians and 75% noted spending time together with loved ones is most important over the holidays. Knowing this, we were so excited to surprise just a few deserving heroes in this year’s campaign,” she said.

The campaign will air across broadcast TV, online video, movie theater screens and social media, including on WestJet’s own channels, beginning Dec. 1.

In addition, the campaign will have a 10-second video tied to an extension of its Holiday Hero program, in which any Canadian—travel industry worker or not—can nominate someone they believe deserves a Christmas family reunion, facilitated by WestJet.

Nominations are currently open on the airline’s website, where details of WestJet’s other holiday promotions, such as its Miracle Miles charitable donation scheme and its printable holiday e-card, can also be found.


Dec 01, 2023
Client :
Agency :
Global CCO :
Aaron Starkman
Global CSO :
Sean McDonald
Mike Dubrick
Executive Creative Director :
Leia Rogers
Group Creative Director :
Sean O'Connor
Associate Creative Director / Art Director :
Eric Seymour
Associate Creative Director / Copywriter :
Jordan Lawson
Head of Strategy :
Elyse Sanders
Senior Strategist :
Brian Tang
Senior Producer :
Emma Ruthnum
Partner & Client Services Director :
Chelsea Stoelting
Group Account Director :
Kennedy Crawford
Account Director :
Kara Schulz
Account Manager :
Jong Lee
Head of Broadcast Production :
Laura Rioux
Director of Broadcast Production :
Shelby Spigelman
Production Company :
Executive Producer :
Sébastien Galina
Executive Producer :
Shelby Manton
Executive Producer :
Geoff Manton
Executive Producer :
Kristoff Duxbury
Line Producer :
Sébastien Galina
Director :
Sean Horlor
Director :
Steve Adams
Farhad Ghaderi
Editing Facility :
R&D Post
Editor :
Austin Blackmore
Executive Producer :
Megan O'Connor
Senior Producer Post :
Laurie Filgiano
Junior Producer :
Natalia Urquiza
Color Facility :
Alter Ego
Finishing Facility :
Alter Ego
Colorist :
Andrew Ross
Color Assistant :
Malini Khotsiphom
Flame Artist :
Sebastian Boros
Flame Assistant :
Veridianna Whitaker
Producer :
Andrew Tavares
Executive Producer :
Hilda Pereira
Audio House :
Wave Productions
Original Composition :
Wave Productions
Music Director :
David Gaudet
Audio Producer/Mixer :
Craig Zarazun
Executive Producer :
Megan Hughes
PR Lead :
Meredith Montgomery
PR Group Account Director :
Matt Milne
PR Coordinator :
Marta Miklas
Director Marketing :
Jennifer Callegaro
Senior Manager Brand Strategy & Activation :
Mariam Wilton
Advisor Marketing :
Kim Cormack
Advisor Marketing :
Erin McGregor
Advisor Marketing :
Huda Coutney
Content Strategist :
Andrea Boland
Senior Manager Media Strategy :
Seema Bissa
Channel Strategist :
Dariejane Bongato
Senior Channel Strategist :
Chelsea Owen-Turner
Associate General Counsel :
Andrew Kay
Director Internal & External Communications :
April Crane
Manager Social Media :
Serene Thio
Coordinator Social Media :
Dawn Park
Lead Channel Strategist :
Olga Brilant
Immediate Product Owner :
Melodie Lapina
Developer :
Rohan Somers
Senior Designer :
Kelsey Kimura
Senior Manager Digital Design :
David McArthur
Channel Strategist :
Sarah M Taylor
Channel Strategist :
Anna Kennedy
Senior Advisor Insights :
Alyssa Redfern
Senior Content Strategist :
Patrick Lachance
Content Strategist :
Marie-Eve Bilodeau
Senior Manager Operations :
Dano Nguyen
Senior Manager Guest Experience :
Janna Block
Senior Manager Ground Operations :
Steven Patch
Airport Affairs Manager :
Chris White-DeVries
Portfolio Manager :
Madeleine Brydon
Manager PR & Content Strategy :
Denise Kenny
Advisor Media Relations :
Julia Brunet
Communications Strategist :
Serena Davis
Manager Enterprise FP&A :
Alisha Visanji
Advisor Marketing :
Carolyn Watson
Advisor Marketing :
Caitlan Auramenko
Advisor Marketing :
Donivan Ryan
Media :
AVP Strategy :
Sara Daher
Strategist :
Avneet Sahota
Associate Director Digital :
Ricky Gupta
Supervisor Strategy :
Frances Fan
Social Manager :
Taras Kuzmyk
Associate Director Social :
Audrey Ansah
Associate Director Programmatic :
Gaurav Dayalani
Programmatic Manager :
Akrish Sripada
Senior Programmatic Analyst :
Adarsh Sivakumar
Senior Digital Analyst :
Aman Mendonca

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