Aviation History NL: Alcock and Brown 100th Anniversary Celebrations
When Alcock and Brown completed the first non-stop transatlantic flight in 1919, it represented more than a tremendous personal accomplishment—it signaled the beginning of transatlantic commercial aviation and air mail.
A century later, we faced our own daunting feat—to mark that soaring historical achievement with a fitting celebration, and we only had six months to prepare. We had to both develop the partnerships necessary to fund the celebration and then execute it in a way that engaged and educated a wide cross section of the public. While appropriately recognizing this significant centennial was important, that was only the beginning. Another core objective was to educate the broader public nationally about Newfoundland and Labrador’s rich aviation history and the many sites and communities that embody this legacy.
Working with the industry and all levels of government, over $700,000 was raised to develop an advertising campaign and host a wide range of activities and events to celebrate and educate. More than a dozen separate events and activities were organized including: an aviation history lecture series, a commissioned play, a street festival, an aviator’s ball and a commemorative flight. In order to ensure a lasting legacy, two brands were developed for the ad campaign: one for the 100th anniversary and another Aviation History NL brand to enable an active association to continue on after the celebrations. To create a buzz, we covered the city’s downtown and our airport with both these brands.
By all accounts, we pulled off a resounding success in six months for a project that should have had a planning cycle of two years. Media interest was off the charts and public interest and attention exceeded expectations. Had it not been for COVID-19, the play we commissioned about the historic flight would have toured the country. Today, Aviation History NL has the tools it needs to begin work on a range of remarkable sites and stories under a single, easily promotable brand.