Kia Caraoke Studio

An interactive karaoke studio for tennis fans at the Australian Open.

  • Australia Open
  • 9k
  • 15.3k
    video views

Turning the classic test drive on its head, the Kia Caraoke Studio was a creative technology experience that let audiences test their karaoke skills with famous tennis stars, all while exploring the brand new Kia Cerato. Immersed in a karaoke-style environment with energetic lighting sequences and real-time pitch and performance scoring, visitors were able to let go of their inhibitions in a simple yet memorable brand experience that delighted tennis and karaoke lovers alike.

A different kind of test drive

The Idea

In line with their sponsorship of the Australian Open, Kia was looking for an experiential marketing activation able to activate tennis fans – and get them inside the new Kia Cerato. The idea for Kia Caraoke Studio was to create a different kind of test drive through creative technology.

In this test drive, you wouldn’t test the mechanics or handling of the car, but experience how it supported the quintessential experience of rocking out with friends to your favourite song. And, thanks to some unusual augmented reality, one of those friends would be a tennis star.

Integration and collaboration


While it may seem like a fairly simple experience, this project was an experiment in integrating many individual systems into one seamless experience. That meant a lot of collaboration and integration – not just for the final experience, but throughout the whole process of creating it.

A mess of cables and technology on a table during production at creative technology agency.

Inside the car, we had Nanoleaf LED lights that had to be mounted and programmed to the music. We needed to film the tennis stars during production, before isolating and preparing that footage to be combined with live footage of audiences at the actual event. And that live video needed to be captured through a Blackmagic camera, studio microphone, speakers and screen in the car.

Pink Nanoleaf lights mounted in a car for the Kia Caraoke Studio experiential marketing activation.

The in-car experience would then be patched through to a server room where individual micro-sites were created to store the videos. These microsites would then need to trigger an automated email to direct visitors there to watch and share their performance. All of this in 40+ degree heat for two weeks straight in the chaotic environment of the Australian Open.

Recreating a karaoke studio

Responsive Lighting

Jumping into a Kia Cerato, visitors were greeted by tennis stars Thanasi Kokkinakis and Daria Gavrilova and asked to sing along to Jet’s iconic Aussie classic “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”. To help create the right mood, we mounted Nanoleaf LED light panels to the windshields and roof, creating the feeling of an immersive karaoke studio. We then programmed those lights to animate and change colour in line with the music, amping up the drama of the experience.

Unusual augmented reality

Dynamic Video

With the mood for the experiential marketing activation set, the next challenge was getting tennis stars Kokkinakis and Gavrilova in the car with fans. To create this illusion we needed to make three videos: one of the tennis players, one of visitors at the event, and a third combining those two in real time to create the final performance.

S1T2 team member holds up a screen displaying an in-camera capture during testing for Kia Caraoke Studio augmented reality experience.

The first video was filmed at a more traditional shoot. With the final lighting already programmed and the car set up in a studio, we got each tennis star in to rock out. We then took this footage, overlaid some graphics to add to the excitement and isolated the alpha channels ready to be combined with live performance footage.

Screen shows inside the Kia Caraoke Studio experience during behind the scenes filming.

The second video was captured live in the car during the Australian Open through a Blackmagic camera and studio microphone. To create the third and final generative video, we merged this footage, in real time, with the pre-recorded video and gamified graphic overlays. This would be the video that visitors would see during the experience, and that they would receive as a digital takeaway afterwards.

Performance metrics in real time

Real-Time Scoring
Screenshot of the augmented reality performance scoring and in-car user interface for Kia Caraoke Studio.

Rocking out with the tennis stars, we also gave Kia Caraoke Studio audiences live scores based on their pitch and overall performance. These scores were determined by matching live in-car audio with that of the original song, and dynamically pixel mapping the movement of users in the in-car video. Adding to the complexity, these scores were calculated and translated into graphic feedback in real time as audiences sang.

Inside the car, these scores helped us create an energetic atmosphere that encouraged audiences to let go of their inhibitions and really have some fun. Outside the car, individual results were combined into an overall score that determined visitors’ chances of winning a range of prizes. This scoreboard also displayed snippets from the in-car performances, helping to pump up visitors waiting for their turn.

A memorable, shareable experience

Digital Takeaway
Screenshot of geo-locked microsite hosting video takeaways for Kia Caraoke Studio at the Australian Open.
Screenshot of in-car experience at Kia Caraoke Studio.

At the end of each karaoke session, a 30 second snippet of the final video performance was uploaded to an individual geo-locked microsite as a lasting memento of the creative technology experience. Visitors were sent a link to this video, and a dynamically generated image of their Kia Caraoke Studio experience, through an automated email. From there, tennis fans could share their performance with friends and family across social media under the hashtag #KiaTennis.

Australian Open + beyond

Event + Results

The Kia Caraoke Studio experiential marketing activation was live at Grand Slam Oval for 15 days during the Australian Open. With near constant queues, the creative technology experience saw 4,000 teams and over 9,000 individuals test their karaoke skills as they sang along with the stars through augmented reality. Even after the Open, the experience continued to resonate with fans, with videos on the microsite receiving over 15,300 views.

Brand ambassadors watch a crowd of tennis fans waiting for the Kia Caraoke Studio at the Australian Open.

A fun, shareable experience for tennis fans, Kia Caraoke Studio capitalised on the novelty of augmented reality to give visitors a believable experience of singing along with the stars. And, by providing multiple ways to interact beyond the event itself, the digital takeaways extended the life of the experiential marketing activation, turning a private karaoke session into a widely shareable experience.

Videos from Kia Caraoke Studio experiential marketing shown at the Australian Open.
Caraoke at Aus Open.

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