Kim Jacobs‘ latest spot for Air Canada (created with pledged agency JWT) is an important reminder of our potential for generosity.

When given two free tickets to anywhere in the world (one for themselves, one to be shared), Air Canada travellers let their imaginations run free. Their globe-hopping adventures, preserved in photographs, are marked across a world map and range from the adventurous to the sentimental. Through deft directorial choices, Jacobs brilliantly illustrates the human scale of the global.

Kim is driven by her curiosity and loves humans. Her love of ideas inspires and motivates her as a storyteller and filmmaker. She is driven to discover new and unexpected ways to creatively solve problems and translate those ideas to film or any medium that makes them meaningful. She directed in a team, jacobs&briere, with her husband Alain Briere initially before they decided to work independently. All of this happened while collaborating with agencies like TBWA, Publicis, Saatchi&Saatchi, Leo Burnett, Y&R, Amalgamated, Ogilvy. Some of it was recognized with awards from The One Show, Clios, Cannes Silver Lion, Telly and B.D.A. Gold

Kim spoke with us about her process, shooting in an airplane hanger for the first time, and how the time is right for women directors!

Tell us about the process of how you began work on the Air Canada spot.

Air Canada launched an initiative last year (ahem… after the US elections) that was about spreading a little more Canada in the world.  As part of the thinking Air Canada gave all the passengers on a random flight tickets to anywhere they traveled plus another ticket for the traveler to give to someone of their choice.  This act of kindness and generosity created many stories for all these travelers. Air Canada wanted to catch up with some of these passengers to see how their journey’s impacted them. Through this social gesture many human stories were spawned.  I got inspired by this idea and wanted to tell it in a memorable and visual way.

Were there any elements about this shoot that were particularly exciting to you? Anything particularly challenging? What elements do you think were most reflective of your style as a director?

We built this massive wall with a map of the world and that process was exciting.  It was like an making an art installation.  The idea of creating space or background for these memories to live was challenging in a good way.  Stylistically the giant map gave us this palette to fill in all these stories and using picture because a visual execution of seeing all of these diverse people and places they went.  It was reflective of my kind of approach in that we told this story simply and visually.

Does the charitable nature of the campaign in question make it especially fulfilling to work on?  

The social impact part of this story is what attracted and motivated me to get involved.

How is this spot different from past work you’ve done?

I have never shot in an airport hangar and it was stunning.  The scale was otherworldly and made everything amplified, which was really interesting how context of space changed the frame.

Let’s talk about your other work as well – we love your “I Am That Girl” campaign. How do you go about working with the talent on those kinds of shoots?

The talent for both IAMTHATGIRL and this Air Canada piece are all real people.  I love working with real people and creating an environment for them to be themselves and relax.  Their genuine warmth comes out and is compelling to watch.

What are your personal career highlights?

It’s always been about the people and collaborating to make something together, those are my personal highlights. The IAMTHATGIRL film is an emotional piece for the the bigger commitment I have with the message, and for Visa we took a week long road trip shooting stop motion; that was special experience.

What’s your vision for the role that advertising can play in creating a better world?

I think telling brands stories that have a bigger social message do have the potential to create a better world.  People are listening to brands with a honest voice and that is powerful.  Think of Patagonia, these like minded brands have opportunities to engage an audience like never before that can make the world a better place.

Do you have dreams of creating other kinds of content in future (films? documentaries?)

I love story telling in every form and I want to continue diving in and seeing where the opportunities I’m given can take me.  My dream is to keep creating.

Free The Bid is committed to advocating for diverse perspectives and points of view. What do you think are some of the benefits to diverse representation on both sides of the camera lens?

Filmmaking without diversity would be meaningless.  The whole nucleus of a story is about point of view.  To see different and unique perspectives is the reason we want to watch.  We get to experience the world from a different lens in every story which creates empathy and greater human experience.

Anything else you want to share with the Free The Bid audience?

How lucky that a platform like Free the Bid is in the world advocating for these diverse voices.  If you are a woman filmmaker, the time is right now to get out there and make things.  The support system is manifesting, the culture is listening, and it’s time for you to be heard.


Client: Air Canada
Agency: JWT
Art Director: Raj Gupta
Creative Directors: Josh Budd, Dave Federico

Director: Kim Jacobs
Production Company: Suneeva
Executive Producer: Geoff Cornish
DOP: Byron Kopman
Producer: Kyle Hollett

Post: Saints Editorial
Editor: Robin Haman