Australian Open delivers a masterclass in selfie-awareness

When it comes to developing creative ways to leverage the selfie phenomenon to encourage event engagement, attract attention for sponsors and even support good causes, we reckon it’s game, set and match to the Australian Open.

Event organisers and sponsors alike have been shrewd in their strategic incorporation of incentives to share Australian Open-themed selfies across the Twitter-sphere and beyond.

To maximise opportunities for generating sharable content, props including giant hashtags, enormous tennis balls and oversized tennis rackets have been carefully positioned around the grounds – all providing ideal selfie-fodder for attendees, who are continually being reminded to incorporate the hashtag #AOSelfie into their posts.

Capitalising on the tournament’s global following, tennis enthusiasts around the world watching on-screen are also being encouraged to Tweet photos of themselves enjoying the tennis, with the resultant Tweets featuring in an #AOSelfie mural on-site.

Event sponsors have also been keen to secure their slice of the action. Kia, for instance, has been busy encouraging fans to share a selfie incorporating the hashtag #KiaTennis, to be in with a chance of winning a Kia Sportage.

Meanwhile, attendees are being given the opportunity to walk away with a printed, Polaroid-style version of their selfie, thanks to technology created by Sydney small business Social Playground. To receive their take-home selfie, attendees are simply being asked to include the hastags #JacobsCreek and #MyWilson with their posts. Both brands are event sponsors.

And the Open’s selfie-strategy hasn’t only been of benefit to fans and corporations. Major sponsor ANZ has used the opportunity to support World Vision Australia, with a social media campaign starring Novak Djokovic.

The initiative has successfully capitalised on Djokovic’s own massive social following, including almost five million Twitter followers. The world number one has been urging fans to take selfies while wearing a headband, and share the photos via social media using the hashtag #HeadbandForGood.

With ANZ pledging to donate $2 for every such selfie shared, this has not only provided an ingenious way of generating publicity around the bank’s sponsorship of the Open, but has also placed a spotlight on the organisation’s social conscience in a very public arena.

As with all social media campaigns, there are risks as well as benefits. We are sure the team behind the Australian Open carefully considered all potential pitfalls before implementing their social media strategy. And in our opinion, the Australian Open’s efforts are a shining example of how being ‘selfie-aware’ during the planning stages of an event can pay dividends in optimising social media presence.