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From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

Ready. Set. Canada WestJet & Destination Canada Campaign

Entered in Travel & Tourism

About this entry

When thinking of an industry heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, one cannot help but think of travel. Over the last two years, travel plans to faraway destinations were put on hold and bucket lists remained unchecked. 

In order for WestJet to pivot within these unprecedented times, our main objective was to increase the awareness and the desirability factor of domestic travel in Canada once COVID-19 travel restrictions eventually loosened. 

Tasked with re-launching the brand’s presence among travelers who had been grounded for over a year’s time, our plan needed to encompass the support of Canadian tourism through the promotion Canadian routes from east to west coasts, a shift in Canadian’s perceptions in regards to safe travel, and the establishment of WestJet as their top-of mind airline of choice when it came time to book their travels.  

Why does this entry deserve to win?

Our strategy hinged on the insight that while Canadians are still hesitant to travel internationally, they are more apt to travel domestically as a result. This created an opportunity for WestJet to inspire Canadians to explore the vast, diverse and often surprising Canadian landscape, from coast to coast.  

WestJet partnered with Destination Canada to highlight Canadian destinations and capitalize on this behavioral shift to domestic travel. Based on the iconic phrase, “Ready. Set. Go.”, the Ready. Set. Canada. campaign was a pivotal opportunity to help boost Canadian Tourism, WestJet’s business, and support the Canadian economy, all of which have been struggling to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. With safety measures firmly in place, it was time to reach the Canadians ready to explore their land and reunite with their family and friends. 

We planned for a digitally focused campaign, creating interactive and immersive experiences to drive up excitement for domestic travel with WestJet. We used high impact and engaging units to help showcase Canada’s wealth of opportunity and adventure from coast to coast. We also ensured we had flexibility to pivot our tactics, if necessary, due to the uncertainty of government mandates. By researching our audience’s digital media consumption habits, we selected a variety of platforms based on time spent. The selected channel mix consisted of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Google and YouTube to ensure we maximized exposure and awareness across multiple touchpoints. 

The campaign rolled out in two phases. The first phase generated mass-awareness through high impact formats, while the second phase re-engaged those previously exposed with more interactive and engaging experiences, to assist with consideration and push direct flight bookings. Additionally, since the campaign launched in the summer and ran through to winter, we constantly tweaked the messaging and creatives to serve seasonal and contextually relevant ads to our audience. The ads contained picturesque Canadian travel destinations with clever iterations of the phrase “Ready. Set. Go” to encourage Canadians to explore their own country by highlighting the diverse landscapes and experiences Canada has to offer. 

The awareness flight consisted of various video formats across our channel mix, which was followed by unique ad formats to drive domestic travel inspiration for Canadians. Instant Experiences on Facebook and Instagram, and Carousel Taste Tuners on Pinterest provided a more engaging in-app user experience to prompt our audience to learn more about the east coast versus the west coast. Instagram Story Polls engaged our audience to vote for one Canadian travel experience over another, in hopes of sparking interest in traveling to experience these activities firsthand. The Twitter Moment and Thread encouraged audience engagement by asking Canadians what their favourite seasonal activities are in the country. We also created a custom Snapchat AR Lens which prompted our audience to think about their next travel destination using a randomizer functionality. The lens shuffled through predetermined Canadian destinations, which once selected, showed the users’ background photo of ‘said’ destination while also providing a fun fact in hopes of promoting Canadian tourism. 


The campaign was covered by several Canadian news publications, and holistically, was successful at impacting Canadians’ desire to travel domestically. Overall, the campaign generated 280.9M impressions, surpassing our initial goal of 156M impressions, resulting in 40K Bookings for domestic routes. 

The social media campaign achieved strong reach amongst our potential Canadian traveler audience across the various social channels, reaching 62% of our audience on FB&IG, 81% on Snapchat, 95% on Pinterest & 44% on Twitter. The campaign also drove a positive lift in Brand Awareness across FB&IG, Pinterest and Snapchat, meeting our objective to increase awareness of domestic travel. Additionally, the campaign saw a positive lift in Purchase Intent across FB&IG (+2.5 pts) and Pinterest (+7.4 pts) showing the incremental lift of those considering domestic Canadian destinations as a result of the campaign. The campaign also drove 49.5M video views and 7.3M engagements with our content. The custom Snapchat AR Lens performed extremely well, driving a 17.2 second Average Playtime, well above the 11 second platform benchmark. The Lens also generated 463.9K Shares at an average Share Rate of 2.57%. Beyond these numbers, this media campaign successfully re-launched WestJet's brand presence amongst Canadian travelers during a time where there were many uncertainties in the travel industry, ultimately helping WestJet be better equipped to navigate the new reality and whatever the future may hold. 


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Media Experts, WestJet


Entry Credits