How does a leading aircraft manufacturer maximise awareness of a new aircraft and showcase its commitment to innovation?


Drive awareness and buzz around the launch of its new A350 aircraft, while showcasing its commitment to innovation and excellence.


Used Twitter to communicate the details of the A350 XWB’s first flight to a global audience as it happened in real time. Used Promoted Tweets in timeline to drive targeted reach to those most likely to be interested in its message.


  • #A350FirstFlight trended organically 15 times throughout the day
  • 10.6% engagement rate at peak
  • +4,000 new followers in one day

Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus (@Airbus) is one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer whose customer focus, commercial know-how, technological leadership and manufacturing efficiency have propelled it to the forefront of the industry.

The challenge

@Airbus wanted to drive awareness and buzz around the launch of its new A350 XWB aircraft and showcase its commitment to innovation and excellence.

It also wanted to bring the A350 XWB’s maiden flight closer to its key stakeholders so that airlines, politicians, suppliers and aviation fans alike could all enjoy the celebration in real time.

The solution

Acknowledging that people come to Twitter to find out what’s happening in the moment, @Airbus, working with agency @goodrelations, tweeted the details of the A350 XWB’s maiden flight as it happened in real time, organising all conversations from takeoff to landing around the hashtag #A350FirstFlight.

To maximise engagement, @Airbus tweeted exclusive content from behind the scenes including a Vine video of the pilots leaving the aircraft when the flight was complete.

@Airbus wanted to make an impact with aviation and aerospace fans in particular as they would quickly understand the innovation taking place and become brand advocates, boosting awareness and buzz.

“Twitter enabled us to provide excellent insights into our aircraft and its journey. For example, we tweeted live content from the cockpit radio, enabling Twitter users to hear the chief test pilot’s views. This kind of new and fresh content is great for our brand.”

Emma BoyaHead of Social Media, Airbus

To get its content in front of these people, it used Promoted Tweets in timeline, activating interest and @username targeting. For example, it targeted users interested in travel as well as users with similar interests to those following specifically selected accounts like @aviationweek and @flightglobal.

The brand also used keyword targeting in timeline to put its message in front of people tweeting or engaging with Tweets containing words like aviation, A380, Airbus etc. In all cases, it used geo-targeting to reach users in 18 specific countries.

In parallel to its Promoted Tweet campaign, the brand used Promoted Accounts to grow its follower base.

“We wanted to share this moment with the world in real time. Twitter and Vine were the perfect vehicles. They allowed us to reach so many people in real time, enabling an intimate connection between them and the event. This was the first big social media aircraft launch and we are extremely happy with how it went”

Sion OwenAccount Director, Good Relations

The results

Thanks to the real time nature of Twitter, @Airbus succeeded in celebrating the launch of its A350 XWB aircraft with millions of people around the world, turning it into the first big social media aircraft launch.

By the time the aircraft took off, the @Airbus campaign had already achieved over 10 million potential impressions across the @Airbus handle and the associated hashtags (#A350FirstFlight and #A350FF).

Most importantly, the audience remained engaged during the entire flight, with engagement rates on Promoted Tweets peaking at 10.6%. Additionally, the overall sentiment across key terms (@Airbus, #A350FirstFlight and #A350FF) was very positive throughout the day.

The huge number of conversations resulted in the official hashtag #A350FirstFlight trending organically 15 times. The hashtag achieved number five position globally and number one in France, with figures such as British Prime Minister @david_cameron becoming part of the conversation, as well as key airlines like @qatarairways, AirAsia CEO @tonyfernandes, TV presenter and science fan @ProfBrianCox and trade press like @airwaysmagazine.

BBC News picked one of the Tweets which contained a picture of the take off and used it as the main picture in its coverage on the BBC website, reinforcing the fact that when events happen in the real world they happen on Twitter.

The impactful launch, which appealed to @Airbus key stakeholders as well as the general public, was followed by a successful Paris Air Show, where Airbus won US$68.7 billion worth of business for a total of 466 aircraft. @Airbus also reached a milestone in terms of followers, surpassing the 100,000 mark for the first time.

3 keys to success

  1. Use rich media including Vine videos to boost engagement.
    @Airbus kept its audience informed and engaged during the entire flight using simple, conversational Tweets that contained live coverage from the cockpit, inspiring images and Vine video.
  2. Know your audience.
    @Airbus invested time in understanding who its key audience was and who would most likely speak about its new product launch. It then used Twitter’s targeting capabilities to put its message in front of them at the right time.
  3. Integrate with other channels.
    @Airbus used a dedicated website and its You Tube channel to live-stream the A350 XWB’s take off and broadcast relevant interviews. The relationship with Twitter was strongly symbiotic. The brand asked its Twitter followers to suggest questions for the interviews and also shared key highlights of the live broadcast on Twitter, always using the hashtag #A350FirstFlight. The latter was also used on press release, organising conversations around the launch and giving identity to the campaign.