Type to search

How Sydney Opera House personally and directly invited visitors to #ComeOnIn

Social & Digital

How Sydney Opera House personally and directly invited visitors to #ComeOnIn


The Sydney Opera House is the most Instagrammed icon in Australia, but very few visitors step inside.

This article originally appeared in The Culture Issue, our August/September 2017 issue of Marketing Mag.

Campaign: #ComeOnIn

Client: Sydney Opera House

Agency: DDB Sydney

2 copy



The Sydney Opera House is a national icon; however, as a business it competes for visitors with other cultural and entertainment venues. So during summer, when Sydneysiders and tourists love being outdoors, the challenge is even greater.

3 copy



Ultimately, we needed to bring more visitors through the doors of the Sydney Opera House in summer. We broke this business objective down to three communications objectives:

  • Make the Sydney Opera House an iconic summer experience: while the Opera House is a national icon, it is not yet an iconic experience. We needed people to see the House as an experience, not just a building.
  • Democratise the House: many people mistakenly feel that the Opera House is expensive and inaccessible, not for people like them. We needed to welcome people to ‘their house’.
  • Create urgency: many Sydneysiders intend to visit, but put it off until after summer. We needed to encourage and incentivise visitation.




With 8.2 million visitors annually, the Sydney Opera House is the most Instagrammed icon in Australia. From the outside it is an icon that attracts millions. But most people take photos of the outside and move on.

Our strategy was to turn this problem into an opportunity, and challenge the spectators to walk through the doors.




Our idea was to literally, personally and directly invite people to #comeonin to the Sydney Opera House.

For four weeks, we monitored Instagram with a custom software application using computer vision and geolocation all running on mobile devices. When someone posted a photo of the Sydney Opera House from the outside, the mobile response team shot and shared a personalised response video in real time, inviting them to #comeonin for a money-can’t-buy experience.

Photos were turned into private sound checks with artists, acrobatic lessons with performers, behind the scenes tours, karaoke sing-alongs and more.

The content we were able to curate through the experiences of the inside was re-shared on Instagram directly by invitees. In turn, we used our invitees as a channel to further extend the reach of our campaign from a grass-roots level. Experience by experience, picture by picture, we were able to change perceptions of the Sydney Opera House.




Over four weeks, more than five million people got to see the magic that goes on behind the scenes inside the Sydney Opera House and we landed over 17 million impressions.

Social media impressions: two million (paid and organic), influencer impressions: 1.8 million, PR impressions: 13.9 million.

Incredibly, all this came from inviting 126 unsuspecting Instagrammers, who simply posted a photo of the Sydney Opera House, to #comeonin.



* * * * *

To purchase a copy of The Culture Issue, or a subscription to the mag, visit the online shop »

* * * * *


You Might also Like

Leave a Comment