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Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

Air Canada Instagram

Entered in Instagram


The Air Canada Instagram account strives to inform, entertain, and celebrate our profoundly innovative present and future, as well as our acclaimed history, and proud Canadian heritage. Our strategy involves a strictly informative, yet colourful approach combining spectacular images by our in-house professional photographer @brianlosito, with vintage archives and video footage, curated content from our fans, and editorial material from our inflight magazine, enRoute. From the beginning, Air Canada's Instagram has adopted a strong, non-marketing approach by utilizing the #avgeek hashtag, as well as in-house hashtags (e.g. #ACHearts, #FlyingAC787) in order to inform and entertain through engaging content versus sales-oriented posts; a unique factor among commercial airline social media platforms. Rather than placing the focus on selling airline products, Air Canada's Instagram focuses on the beauty and mastery of the industry itself. The account has produced high traffic and follower numbers, as well as impressive engagement as a result, purely through organic content. Air Canada's Instagram is for airline lovers, technical savants, and travel-hungry individuals who are all able to equally participate in its time-honoured journey as Canada's largest airline.

Strategy and Execution

Air Canada's Instagram was created but 3 short years ago, in 2012. By the end of 2013, the account had established itself as a major source for aviation fanatics, and seekers of adventure. By sharing professional photographs and video footage taken by in-house photographer @brianlosito, and combining this with technical information, specs, launches, and exciting brand information pertaining to all of our aircraft, the Air Canada Instagram account has achieved a paramount interaction rate, reaching up to 5% engagement per post (as compared to 3.31% for top engaging brands). The launch of the highly anticipated Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in 2014 saw some of the highest engagement ever on this platform, creating feverish buzz around the airline and Dreamliner routes, as well as piquing the interest of aviation aficionados and lovers of travel worldwide.

In December 2014, Air Canada was chosen by Instagram among a handful of other Canadian companies to be a featured Instagram advertiser. Subsequently, our #ACHeartsRio, #ACHeartsPanama and #ACHeartsTreamblant hashtag campaigns (#ACHeartsNewDestinations) enabled the airline to achieve more than 25% new subscribers through this paid program, cross-promote local and international destinations, as well as the airline's in-flight editorial, enRoute.

Because Air Canada's Instagram embodies a strictly information-based, and non-marketing model with its organic content, the company truly sets itself apart from others in the field through its focus on informing, entertaining, and inspiring self-proclaimed aviation geeks (#avgeeks) and first-time flyers (some have never even flown!), rather than acting on the cliché of selling airline products. We also show our supporters love by participating in popular aviation hashtags (#planespotters, #avgeeks etc.) – our re-grams gaining unprecedented engagement, and support.

An additional element that sets the platform's content apart is its diversity. Our team combines visuals of our stunning fleet with stimulating, colourful travel & lifestyle imagery from our in-flight magazine, enRoute (also produced by Spafax). We strive to engage every possible consumer or interested party – from professional visuals of highlighted destinations, to the aircraft that will carry the passenger there; the comprehensive nature of this platform's content is a total experience.

Combining technical, contemporary, and editorial visuals allow Air Canada to explore the limits of its branding strategy through social media, especially its proud Canadian heritage. From humble beginnings as Trans-Canada Air Lines, Air Canada has grown to become Canada's largest airline, and voted title holder as North America's best airline, 5 years in a row (Skytrax). Our strength, both in quality and numbers, is showcased through our Instagram platform through a reflection on digitally mastered content from our archives, and rich, professional content from our talented team.

Of significant, and final note, is the bilingualism of the platform. As a Canadian company, and Canada's flag carrier, Air Canada's Instagram must operate in both official languages, and therefore the succinctness of our messages must reflect the brand's voice in both English, and French, as well as be adapted for linguistic subtleties – a challenge we meet with honourable detail and attention, and for which we are proud.


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