Simon Robins

Open the Open





Creative Direction





The 2021 Australian Open was unlike any other.

Thanks to Covid, restricted crowd numbers gave us the opportunity to deliver Priceless experiences via Virtual Fans to tennis lovers in Australia and around the world.

How we did it

The Australian Open, the Happy Slam, the first major sports event of the year. But times are different. With the live event closed to so many, we wanted to go beyond normal sponsorship advertising and find a way to open it back up to everyone.

In 2021 Mastercard connected you to the AO like never before with Open the Open. The secret lives of Naomi Osaka, Q&A’s with Jim Courier, Tennis clinics, on court access through live stream, access to the stringer room, live music at Grand Slam Oval and many more were to be found on And thanks to our Virtual Fans, people everywhere could be part of the action. Imagine the thrill of seeing yourself on TV, watching from the front row…

Mastercard Virtual Fan

Thanks to Mastercard, three smart humanoids brought thousands of people into the event, at a time when attendance was limited — allowing fans from all over Australia and the globe to connect with the tennis like never before.

A custom Instagram filter called ‘MastercardVirtualFan’ let anyone beam their fan reactions onto the face of a court-side Virtual Fan, for a chance to be seen on the global TV broadcast. And as the eyes of a Virtual Fan, Mastercard cardholders could see behind the scenes — with live streams or interactive Zooms — to meet the players and commentators, and have personal tennis coaching sessions with superstars.

The multifaceted campaign featured custom humanoid Virtual Fan characters, an IG filter, broadcast partner content and Mastercard online activations

It worked