Creative Innovations - Promotional Items: 1st Place

Binocular for Kids

We created a Junior Plane Spotter Program, targeted at kids 3-8 years of age, with an aim to entertain and engage children who are travelling through the Ottawa Airport during their spring break. We sourced binoculars that we included in a kit along with a membership card and an activity card that encourages them to “spot” various items in and around the airport.

We advertised the program exclusively online (Twitter, Facebook, and through posters in the terminal. We engaged our currency exchange bureau to distribute the kits on behalf of the Authority in each of our two holdrooms. This arrangement is beneficial to the currency exchange, as it drives more traffic to their business, increasing awareness of their services.

To further enhance the airport experience, we also created a “Kid’s Zone” (Coin des jeunes in French) on our website ( with information about activities for children at the airport. It’s designed for children and includes games and puzzles and a featured aircraft. The Kid’s Zone is also available to children who are not travelling but have an interest in airports and aviation.

Entry Statement

Project Goals: 

Airports typically cater to the adult crowd when they acquire promotional items. We often have groups of kids in the terminal and at events that we participate in, and thought we needed a way to reach out to them, particularly when they are flying away during much anticipated school breaks.

Ottawa Airport was the birth place of the Airport Watch movement that has been recreated throughout North America and elsewhere in the world. Airport Watch organizes airport/aircraft enthusiasts as extra sets of eyes and ears in and around the airport, for safety and security purposes. They monitor and report on any activity as they fulfill their own passion and hobby. The Junior Plane Spotter Program was created with Airport Watch in mind, to enhance the passenger experience by engaging and occupying children during their travels through the airport, and also to encourage an interest in aviation and plane spotting. The activity card enclosed in the Junior Plane Spotter kit features airport-specific items and different types of aircraft that introduce children to aviation.

The program is intended to be short-term, and will end once we have distributed all 2,500 kits. We strategically launched it on February 28th, 2014 to coincide with the busiest time of the year when children are travelling: the Quebec and Ontario March Breaks that bring many families through the airport, several of them for the very first time. At the peak time for children travelling, the program provides activities to entertain them as they wait to board their flight, especially when weather affects travel schedules and the waits are longer than planned.


All of the design collateral was created in-house by our Communications Department. A black and white vintage-inspired theme gives the different pieces a cohesive look. The activity card features nine different images (air traffic control tower, fire truck, fuel truck, marshaller etc), which were each drawn as vector images by our employee. The activity card is designed to be visual, and limits the amount of text so that young children can participate in the activities even if they can’t read. The membership card looks like a business card and even has a space where children can write their name. The posters, which are placed throughout the terminal to advertise the program, feature a photograph of two young children (our media friend’s children) using binoculars to spot aircraft. As we’re a bilingual airport, all of the design collateral is bilingual. Printing was done by a local printing company.

The Kid’s Zone webpage was also designed and posted in-house. The page features a banner image that ties in with the colours of our site, but is stylized to fit the page with a juvenile font and paint splotches. The content, including the activities and puzzles, was also created by our employees.


It’s a hit! The success of the Junior Plane Spotter program is evident through the number of kits we have already distributed in such a short time. Within one month, nearly 2,500 kits were given out, meaning that the kids were entertained while at the airport, on top of having a souvenir to take on vacation and then home.

The kids are happy, and so are their parents. In a message received from one appreciative family, Mom Shelley said “Thank you so much for Jackson’s binoculars – they kept him busy while we waited for our flight and he hasn’t stopped using them now that we’re at our vacation resort. What a great idea!”

We’ve involved the airlines and our partners at CATSA in the effort as well. The Ice Currency staff members are particularly pleased because it’s bringing more awareness to their service, they feel like they are a part of something fun and innovative – and they have the bonus of giving the kits to the happy kids and interacting with their families.


The hard costs for the Junior Plane Spotter Program, including the cost for the binoculars and all printed materials are as follows:

2,500 pairs of binoculars $7,625.00
5,000 cards (2,500 id and 2,500 spotter) $375.00
Promotional posters $700.00
Total $8,700.57

For this price, we produced 2,500 kits. No additional hard costs were incurred to produce the Kid’s Zone webpage. In addition to the hard costs associated with this project, approximately 3 days of staff time were spent on this project, from conceptualizing the project and sourcing economically-priced binoculars, to designing the collateral, to creating the Kid’s Zone webpage.