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BAE Systems: Twitter for RIAT
  • "Viva did an outstanding job in all respects. They were creative, pro-active and a very positive partner in helping us to engage both prior to RIAT and during the event itself. The numbers speak for themselves."
  • Eleanor Silcock, Brand and Digital Manager, BAE Systems

BAE Systems: Twitter for RIAT

Using social media to create excitement in air show build up.


BAE Systems is a multinational defence, security and aerospace company with operations worldwide. The company is a sponsor of the world’s largest military air show, the Royal International Air Tattoo, an annual event held at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. BAE approached Viva to help promote their involvement in RIAT.


Create and plan a Twitter campaign to raise awareness of BAE Systems’ presence at the Royal International Air Show and to encourage visitors to come and see their displays and education trailer.

Our strategy

Working with information, images and video Viva devised a strategy which would build interest across the four weeks leading up to the air show. Initially focusing on memories of previous shows, the campaign aimed to attract the desired groups of followers (aviation enthusiasts and family groups) and create a sense of anticipation in the first week. The use of a daily graphic count down indicating the ‘number of sleeps to go’ until RIAT was central to generating this excitement, as was the use of Twitter art, photos and videos of RIAT 2012. To sustain follower interest, Viva designed tweets using photos and video of the air show’s launch with tv presenter Suzi Perry, and offered downloadable mobile wallpapers.

Creating tweets around themes and events which appealed to followers (Formula 1 at Silverstone, Glastonbury, Wimbledon) ensured BAE’s feed remained current. It also offered the opportunity to copy well known figures with strong connections to RIAT and aviation in general into BAE’s tweets, including Carol Vorderman and Lewis Hamilton, both of whom have large numbers of followers on Twitter and the potential to substantially increase BAE’s reach. In the last ten days of the campaign, further buzz was created by devising a series of daily ‘guess the plane’ tweets, incorporating photos and written ‘clues’.

Careful thinking about suitable hashtags (including #RIAT, #avgeeks, #aviation #RIAT2013 #mathsgenius  and #airshow) ensured BAE Systems showed up on Twitter searches and again helped to increase the campaign’s potential reach online.


Within the first five days of the strategy launching BAE Systems’ Twitter feed attracted an extra 300 followers. The target had been to add an extra 100 followers across the whole four weeks leading up to the air show. Over the first two weeks of the campaign the total online mentions of BAE’s involvement with RIAT rose tenfold, taking the potential reach from 20,000 people to 140,000. In the end followers increased by 49%.