Shannon Stone, an Australian who has been living in Hamilton for the past four years, is one of the three expatriates who won the whisky maker's Christmas competition to have a live call with their family members and friends in Australia through a hologram, a photographic projection that appears to be three-dimensional.
But the prize came with an extra shot of the holiday spirit — the whisky maker flew the expatriates home, where Stone surprised his sister, Talitha, in Sydney.
When the live holographic call abruptly ended, Stone popped out from behind the set to greet his bewildered, teary-eyed sister.
"When I walked out, she looked at me, she looked at the screen where I was just a minute ago and then looked back at me," Stone recalled. "It was just such a strong embrace."
"I had been nervous for the month leading up to it, because I had to keep this a secret from everyone and finally that moment was here. I was in Sydney. I've got to see my sister."
The reunion was featured in an online video that went live on social media last Monday. It has since received more than 130,000 views and 2,000 likes on Jack Daniel's Australia's Facebook page.
Stone said the video has not only been a hit with family members and friends in Australia, but also attracted eyeballs in Hamilton.
"I think people in Hamilton were just impressed and excited about it that Hamilton looked beautiful in the video," he said. "I think a lot of people forget that."
Indefinite stay in Hamilton
While the video's production crew was in Hamilton to film Stone's life in his new city, Stone took them to Dundas Valley, his "favourite spot," and the escarpment overlooking the city.
The Aussie developed an interest in photography as a teenager and was fascinated by the landscape of Canada he came across in National Geographic. He made the move to Canada after high school and wound up in Hamilton.
Now, the 23-year-old coffee lover works at a coffee shop in the city's east end while taking on photography gigs.
Stone said that what attracted him to Hamilton, besides the city's picturesque landscape, is that it's a city that feels like a small, tight-knit community. And four years later, he has decided to stay here "indefinitely."
"I always imagine that if I were to travel to somewhere else, say I went to B.C. for six months, I would come back to Hamilton after that," he said.
"It's just cool here and I love the city. I care about it."
Jack Daniel's is not the only business attempting to tug at consumers' heartstrings during the holiday season using online video campaigns.
WestJet's "Christmas Miracle" video, the airline's third holiday video campaign, made a splash online when it sent a Santa to a Dominican Republic community and then surprised the residents with Christmas gifts.