Why Marketers Had to Be at CES

Immersion Is Worth the Trip, Says Mindshare CEO Antony Young

By:  Published in AdAge.com : January 18, 2012
In a world where everything at CES is blogged, posted on YouTube or tweeted, you could be excused for questioning the value of making the trek to the scrum in Las Vegas each January.

But the difference between attending CES and reading about it is like the difference between going to a football game and watching it on TV. Like a football game, actually, CES offers massive crowds, underwhelming food and good odds you’ll miss something from your limited perspective. All that said, however, nothing beats just being there.

The visibility and insight you garner from being up close to the players, sharing conversations with other knowledgeable spectators and the encounters outside the main event, in my mind, make this a “must attend” venue for marketers.

So why is CES a valuable event and what does it bring for marketers?

It’s a tech show, but really it’s about understanding how content will be consumed
CES 2012 really hammered home to me just how technology and media continue to intersect in new ways. Tablets, smartphones, notebooks, TVs and the odd internet-enabled fridge are portals to entertainment, media and social interactivity. Smart mobile devices are poised to become the lead media consumption platform sooner or later. With a truckload of smarter, interconnected, smaller and cheaper mobile devices being showcased at CES, consumers will expect content to be smarter, on the go and 24/7. This is disrupting the way marketers have to think about creating and distributing marketing content.

But consumers are also going to be seeking free content to make the most of their new devices’ capabilities. I predict this will be the biggest opportunity for marketers in 2012.

There’s value in getting wet
Across their busy work schedules, marketers have been accustomed to getting information in drips: The odd article off a news feed, a chance meeting or visit by a vendor, a one-off panel at a conference or a half-year agency update on the latest media trends. Information comes dribbling in like a leaky tap. But CES is like standing under a high-pressure shower head that immediately gets you totally soaked. That’s when you really start to immerse in the media world and think more about taking action instead of being a spectator.

Speed dating … CES style 
It’s what happens outside the exhibit halls that really adds value to the week. The likes of Facebook, Google, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft and Twitter were all in attendance again this year, bringing their top execs to town. The clients that chose to attend the conference got to hear firsthand the latest offerings in a Silicon Valley-meets-upfronts-style event. I was impressed with AOL’s Huffpo HD, its venture into online social TV, a fresh alternative to a tired television model in need of updating. There were plenty of sidebar conversations that offered more individual and specific conversations for clients’ brands.

A chance to set New Year’s resolutions
Because CES takes place in early January, it gives marketers and agencies the opportunity to jointly engage in discussions at the start of a new year and lay down some resolutions. It’s a great platform to set some big goals about how you’re going to change and embrace the shifting landscape … a potential catalyst to make one or two big ideas happen.

I’ll see you again next year.




The Top 12 More Interesting Gadgets From CES 2012

Courtesy of Wired Magazine
Having toured the floor at CES it’s hard to distinguish the cool bits versus the dross.  So Wired magazine gives a good pick of the 10 most interesting and quirky gadgets worth viewing.

My favorites are the Fitbit Aria Smart Scale that measure weight, BMI and body fat in which sends the stats wirelessly to a handy app or website; and tag pet tracker – which is a smart GPS tracker for pets or kids.

1. Nokia Lumia 900 – Nokia’s windows enabled smartphone

2. Victorinox 1 TB SSD Pocketknife – doubles as a flash drive

3. Huawei Ascend P1S – The world’s thinnest smartphone

4. HP Envy 14 Spectre – HP’s new ultrabook



5. Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale – measures and tracks weight, BMI and bodyfat

6. HTC Titan II – a super charged smartphone



7. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga – a hybrid notebook and tablet

8. Mimoco MimoMicro figurine Flash Drives

9. OLPC XO 3.0 tablet – low cost tablet for under $100

10. ZIK Parrot by Starck – wireless bluetooth smart headphones


11. Tagg Pet Tracker – GPS monitor of pets (and kids)

12. Yurbuds Inspire Pro Earphones that never fall out


Panasonic vs. LG: Who Delivered the Sharper Image in Media?

Unit sales of digital TV sets in 2009 will reach nearly 35 million, up about 8% from 2008. The category is flooded by a multitude of Japanese, Korean, European and Chinese brands. While consumers are all too ready to compare side-by-side prices, technology and design, we like to think that marketing and promotion still helps influence brand choice. Panasonic and LG, two brands battling to pull out in front of the pack and compete with established market leaders Sony and Samsung, employed different media strategies. Let’s see how they did.