How Studio Messa turned the iconic Bondi Icebergs pool into a basketball court

The immersive brand activation has been creating a buzz on social media.

When presented with a brief to deliver a “big brand act”, there was no location more iconic than Bondi Icebergs for Sydney-based event agency Studio Messa to transform into a fully functioning pop-up basketball court.

Launching Hennessy as the official spirit of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the activation generated wide-spread coverage that continues to extend well beyond the 100 guests in attendance.


Event: Hennessy NBA Experiential Activation
Location: Bondi Icebergs
Date: 20 May 2021
Guests: 100 (media, influencers and industry trade)

The brief

Working in collaboration with Moet Hennessy Australia, Studio Messa was engaged as the lead agency on the Hennessy x NBA project, from concept through to design and delivery.

Also working with PR firm EVH Agency, Studio Messa was given an overall brief to deliver a “big brand act” to generate high levels of PR coverage and create content that could be used to amplify and promote consumer NBA experiences.

The client also wanted an activation that made the audience feel immersed in the Hennessy X NBA world and to position Hennessy as a trendsetting brand.

Hennessy x NBA event at Bondi Icebergs.
Hennessy x NBA event at Bondi Icebergs.

The event

What was delivered was not only an immersive activation for guests in attendance, but a social media sensation all over the world.

Studio Messa devised a plan to reimagine the iconic Bondi Icebergs ocean pool into a basketball court, a massive feat that truly paid off.

The project started with emptying the pool, building the court, refurbishing and redesigning the surrounding bar area and creating customised decor, cocktails and photo moments.

The end result was a visually impressive basketball court in an iconic location by the ocean, which was used for a half-court competition between guests, including Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios.

Former NBA player and the voice of Australian basketball Corey “Homicide” Williams also made an appearance for the event.

The challenges

With any outdoor event, weather was predicted to be the main challenge for Studio Messa.

Due to forecast rain for the week of the event, the entire activation was forced to reschedule to the week after.

Nick Kyrgios and Corey “Homicide”
Williams at Hennessy x NBA event.
Image credit: Hennessy.

“Though production of the space had begun, it was decided that it would be a better option to reschedule on better weather as this is an iconic part of the event being hosted at Bondi Beach,” said Studio Messa managing director Peter Pengly.

The tides were also an important factor to consider and given the tide was relatively high at the time of the event, there was some water spillage over onto the court.

However, the basketball game was able to be played on the other side of the court which was not in danger of overflow.

The feedback

Despite the challenges of such a large-scale, outdoor activation, the end result was well worth the risk, with the Hennessy x NBA activation generating a huge impact across media and influencer content.

With stunning weather, a highly covetable location and a brand takeover to rival the rest, the event received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

“Many were excited to shoot some hoops in such an iconic location and felt it was a one-of-a-kind experience,” said Pengly.

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