Cal­gary Zoo: annu­al report 2012 on Instagram

Exhibited by
June 03, 2013
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
April, 2013

SOFII’s view

How do you follow the clever idea of producing your annual report on a single sheet of paper? That was the challenge facing Calgary Zoo and its agency, Trigger. No problem, they published it on Instagram. It’s here on SOFII now.

Calgary Zoo – Lindsey Galloway and Laurie Skene.

Trigger - Todd Blevins, creative director; Shauna Luedtke and Brian Allen, art directors; Teresa Leung, James Barry and Jonathan Herman, designers; Jordon Lawson, copywriter; Jennessa O’Brien, Jill Dewes, Brittany Dusseldorp and Breana Baker, account services.

Name of exhibitor

Trigger, Calgary; Azadi Sheridan, Blackbaud UK.

To produce attractive, informative annual reports that are environment friendly for donors, board members, staff at the zoo, the media and influential Calgarians.


The Calgary Zoo is committed not only to the animals within its facilities, both public-facing and scientific, but also to the cause of conservation and the impact it has on animals - including us. In 2011, they briefed their agency, Trigger, to make their annual report as environmentally friendly as possible. The result was a report on one double-sided sheet of newsprint, named One page One ink One goal: Conservation. This minimised paper usage in order to underscore the conservation message within the report.

The following year they went one step further with the world’s first annual report to be published on Instagram.

The idea came from a creative insight that along with a zoo record of 1.457 million visitors in 2012, there came a record number of images on Instagram tagged #calgaryzoo. Thousands of images in fact. Their audience was using the channel – why shouldn’t they?

Trigger presented the idea to their brave clients and, despite being Instagram newcomers, they approved it within five minutes. They loved the paperless solution and remarked that the project was ‘going to be fun’.

And fun it was. The creative team developed a photo for each section and the copy was reformatted to fit Instagram’s simplified comment style – no bullet points, no bold type, no italics, no underlining.

After a few weeks of building props, shooting on iPhones and a lot of copy checking, the pages were ready and uploaded.

News of the first Instagram annual report was spread to donors, design, advertising and marketing media and blogs through PR and social media channels. 

Special characteristics

The world's first annual report published on Instagram.

Influence / Impact

With text comments directly onto the AGM, and being able to see which images were re-shared, allowed a more public engagement between audience and organisation about the annual report than had ever been accomplished before. Paper saved compared to a traditional print-out and mailing was considerable: a few dozen paper financial statements were distributed at the AGM to those who requested them (the AGM took place during the Instagram publishing week). Photographs of these accounts were also published on Instagram.

What took everyone by surprise was the positive response in digital media further spreading the work of the zoo. Less than two months after the Instagrams were published the zoo’s media coverage folder featured 36 pages of Tweets and online articles. Many news outlets, including Huffington Post Canada, picked up the story and, interestingly, the news had greater traction in global media than local. Inside Investor Relations’ UK website even picked it up via an interview with the zoo’s director, adding to the publicity.

This was an experiment so targets were low. However, the zoo has been pleased to see figures such as 20 per cent more results on Google statistics than the previous year, with a search for ‘Calgary annual report on Instagram’ currently returning 90,000 results – mostly social news outlets and other social sharing such as on Google+ and LinkedIn. Compared to the normal reach of the annual report of 22,000 households – mostly being directed to the Calgary Zoo website rather than receiving a print version – we see what a great impact this method has had. A current Google search for ‘annual report on Instagram’ (i.e. across any sector) returns 24,800,000 results with Calgary Zoo dominating the top links indicating both the impact of the compelling images, as well as the growing popularity of not-for-profit organisations above for-profits in the public interest. 


The Calgary Zoo’s 2012 annual report has received incredible coverage and overwhelmingly positive feedback from social channels, blogs and at the zoo itself. People love that it’s an ’out-of-the-box’ solution using a medium the zoo’s audience is already using. Of course, that it’s a paper-free solution is a huge hit.


A great new idea to make the most of online communications.

SOFII's I Wish I'd Thought Of That IWITOT Toronto 2013 -– Andrea McManus