Djokovic And Seiko Create VR Avatar Serve Return Experience to Leverage 2019 Australian Open

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Seiko leveraged its global tennis ambassador and the start of the 2019 Australian Open by building a ‘Novak Djokovic VR Experience’ in Melbourne.

This virtual reality activation created an avatar of the player in what the brand described as a world-first virtual reality computer game which offered tennis fans a chance to try and return Djokovic’s serve.

Djokovic opened the VR experience in person and, somewhat unusually, put himself into the game so faced up to a virtual avatar of his most challenging opponent yet – himself.

Djokovic also spoke to the Melbourne crowd at the opening and hosted a Q&A session.

The four winning fans who returned the most serves (against a pre-set target) were rewarded with a unique Novak Djokovic special edition watch, a $1,000 cash prize and also had the opportunity to meet the player when he surprised them on stage.

 The initiative was promoted globally through PR, plus video and image led content.

Working with experiential agency Initiative, the watch brand’s Australian office developed the activation with the tournament favourite, current men’s top ranked player and long-time brand ambassador Djokovic in harness with an agency team led by Head of Brand Experience Olivia Warren, Brand Experience Executive Lachlan Wood and Creative Content Producers Jared Ben and Jacob Abi-Arrage.

“Seiko needs to constantly innovate our marketing to remain highly visible among the big watch brands of the world,” explained Seiko Group marketing manager Stuart Smith.

 “Initiative demonstrated great technical and creative expertise to highlight how we can very effectively combine our ambassadorship with Novak Djokovic with state-of-the-art technology to draw people to our brand.”

 Sam Geer, Initiative’s chief strategy officer, added: “The Open is an iconic cultural event in Australia and the world’s sporting calendar. Seiko has a comparatively modest budget so being strategic in how we capture people’s attention and grow the brands relevance is critical to their success. Seiko continues to be a progressive marketer in this area.”


This is an inventive initiative but is not the first VR activation in the tennis spaces - note 2017’s American Express ‘Ace The Open’ at the US Open , Movistar’s VR in store stunt leveraging the 2017 French Open and fronted by Rafael Nada, ANZ’s ‘Breakpoint’ at the 2017 Australian Open, plus American Express’ US Open Pro Walk’ with Pete Sampras in 2016 and the same brand’s ‘You vs Sharapova’ from 2015.

In 2014,  Seiko signed Djokovic as a global brand ambassador and fronted another Seiko event that year in Melbourne.

Since then he has appeared in multiple Seiko marketing initiatives.

Djokovic wears and has appeared in campaigns for the Seiko Astron GPS Solar – which automatically adjusts to the local time by connecting to GPS satellites and using just the power of light – in both 2018

and 2017.





This case study originally appeared on Activative which offers clients creative and strategic intelligence to fuel game-changing sports and sponsorship marketing.

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