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To mark its 50th anniversary, Airbus wanted a global campaign that celebrated its many achievements and forged an emotional connection with its past, present and future that would resonate with employees, customers and other key stakeholders.

But when agency Good Relations audited previous anniversary campaigns, it found that they had been rooted in the rational rather than the emotional. This resulted in the creation of a strategic campaign narrative Pioneering Progress, which enabled the agency to turn Airbus’ traditional approach that focused on products on its head by looking instead at the passion, talent and pioneering spirit that have driven the company’s progress. 

The campaign, which kicked off on the anniversary, focused on 50 moments of pioneering progress within Airbus’ history that contributed to its success. These were drawn together, using the existing framework of airbus.com, into a fresh and fun advent-style calendar, which unlocked content day-by-day.

Additional content was created for each ‘moment’ which could be shared across different formats, such as social media and internal channels. Infographics and interactive experiences were also developed to put statistics into context, such as being asked to vote on whether 2,466 or 246 patients are treated by rescue teams in Airbus helicopters every day. 

These infographics had ‘hotspots’, allowing users to click on parts of the image for more information, while Gifs were created to convey dramatic moments, such as when a satellite docks in orbit.

The first ‘window’ revealed a black and white photograph recalling the moment that France and Germany committed to the A300, the world’s first twin-engine, wide-bodied airline, at the Paris Air Show. 

The stories had been crafted after talking to employees, stakeholders, customers and fans to identify the real moments of pioneering progress. Other windows featured a helicopter test pilot who broke a world record by landing on the top of Mount Everest; the engineers who took on their disabilities to create state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs; and the depot in South West France, home to the end of life project, which sees airplanes decommissioned and up to 92 per cent of parts recycled.

Across the 50 days, 684 items of creative content were shared across paid, owned and earned channels. Each featured a fresh campaign identify, so that they stood out against Airbus’ typical activity. The content was also translated into several languages to allow local market teams to celebrate. 

Unlocking just one piece of content every day engaged multiple audiences over almost two months. By day 50, the campaign had generated almost 210,000 website visits, 4.46 million social engagements and a social reach of almost 40 million. Indeed, almost 27,000 people used #Airbus50. And a ‘mind boggling stats’ page, which revealed facts such as six million people fly in an Airbus aircraft every day and one takes off every 1.2 seconds, was viewed almost four million times. 

Airbus channels gained an additional 166,000 followers, an 83 per cent uplift on the previous six weeks, and a 1,000 per cent increase in positive comments. And 93 per cent of page views were outside France. 

‘This was a good concept, well executed, which achieved great results,’ said the judges. ‘It told an entertaining and informative story.’