Kia’s Multi-Phase, Nadal-Led AO Activation Spans Film, Arena Branding & Display, Fleet & Digital ‘Aces for Oceans’


Kia continued its longstanding Australian Open major partnership in January with an activation programme built on its ongoing ‘Movement That Inspires’ brand platform that included a series of marketing activities most of which highlight the company’s vision for and commitment to sustainable mobility.


Fronted by global ambassador Rafael Nadal, the activation spans supplying the tournament vehicle fleet, running a major hospitality programme, plus arena branding, traditional and online advertising, social engagement and digital activity focused campaign called ‘Aces For Oceans’.



‘Aces For Oceans’ seeks to raise awareness of the ocean plastic crisis and of Kia’s innovative approach to sustainability. Rolled out at the start of the tournament, Aces For Oceans was headlined by Nadal along with a team of global influencers and includes a mobile augmented reality game which offers fans a chance to serve digital aces from their phones anywhere in the world and top the branded scoring table.


Created by sports and entertainment agency WeAreFearless (who also developed Kia’s ‘Make Your Move‘ digital campaign for the 2021 Australian Open) and developed using the agency’s proprietary HumanValues tool, the global initiative seeks to use the tennis court to inspire ecological change. With ocean waste at an all-time high, Kia aims to raise awareness of the problem and have a real impact by turning ocean bound plastic waste into recycled tennis equipment which it donated to the Rafa Nadal Foundation and The Australian Tennis Foundation.


Agency insight and audience analysis revealed that Kia’s target market has an ‘early adopter / changemaker’ mindset and the segment enjoys discovering new opportunities, values bragging rights and social validation.


Aces For Oceans, which was promoted through the AR game, a PR push, plus a launch film and a game-led carousel, was developed by WeAreFearless with production/edit handled by Spindle with Director Silence, while audio was handled by curation, grade by Wash and GFX and offline by Alliance & Lucas Wilson.





As well as supplying the 130-strong official vehicle fleet for all tournament operation (including for players, match officials and VIPs) which included the Sportage SUV, Carnival MPV and EV6 fully electric crossover, on-site the auto brand displayed its new Kia EV6 all-electric crossover following the model’s November 2021 launch event fronted by tennis star Rafael Nadal.




Plus, the 2022 tournament saw the inauguration of the 5,000-seat capacity ‘Kia Arena’: the fourth largest court venue at Melbourne Park, which, on 13 January, hosted the official vehicle handover ceremony attended by Kia and Tennis Australia executives and former champions Rafael Nadal and Dylan Alcott.



The Kia Arena will also be used as a venue for diverse cultural, sports and entertainment programs outside of the tennis tournament.


“As the major partner of the Australian Open for over two decades, we look forward to deepening our engagement with millions of fans around the world, while cementing the status of the Australian Open as one of the world’s most exciting sporting events,” said Kia’s Global Brand and Customer Experience Head Artur Martins.


“In line with our commitment to spurring innovation that is inspired by nature, we are pleased to work with Tennis Australia and fans to help preserve oceanic environments around the globe through our ‘Aces for Oceans’ campaign. With each ace served during the AO and fans’ online participation, Kia will assist those aspiring to reach their tennis dreams by donating tennis equipment made with recycled waste materials to the Australian Tennis Foundation,” he added.


“The partnership between Kia and the Australian Open is one of the longest in Australian sport and we value and respect this unique relationship that has helped us grow the AO into the premium global sports and entertainment event that it is today,” commented Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley. “The Kia fleet, which includes the new all-electric vehicles for 2022, has become an iconic symbol of the AO, with the smartly branded AO Kia cars zipping around the city and keeping the AO on the move. It’s also a testament to our strong relationship that we are standing here beside Kia Arena, a year-round symbol of the friendship between Kia and the AO at Melbourne Park.”


WeAreFearless Founder Garry Dods added: “We’re delighted to be continuing our relationship with Kia and the Australian Open for 2022. ‘Aces for Oceans’ is the perfect blend of what we call boldness with backup. Disruptive creative with the power to inspire change, backed up by genuine scientific insight meaning the creative is much more relevant and engaging because we know it will satisfy our audience’s deeper values and psychological needs. We’re looking forward to another bold campaign and watching tennis stars alongside tennis fans from around the world hit aces to save our oceans!”





Kia has been the exclusive major partner of the Australian Open since 2002 and since then has focused on innovative brand-related experiences, vehicle promotion, brand building and leveraging the various synergies created from the Australian Open around the world.


The 17 to 30 January 2022 tournament activation follows on from 2021’s Nadal led ‘Sources Of Inspiration’ films, 2020’s work with ‘Creasy and Groth’ and 2019’s integrated activation led by ‘Open Up The Surprise’.




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