We all heard the dismal forecasts for CES this year – exhibitors dropping like flies, 30% fewer attendees, Las Vegas hotel rooms going begging, and scaled-down events.
All true, and there was also an absence of cool “gimmes” (thanks anyway for the pen), yet CES was still great this year! Here are a few observations from a PR perspective:
• Which Way to the Buffet?: If you feed them, they will come. That appears to be the key to connecting with top tier media and the basis of long-standing CES press events such as Pepcom, Lunch at Piero’s, and Showstoppers. Yes, editors will schedule briefings at your booth or meeting room, and they may even show up. But for more face-time in a relaxed atmosphere, consider budgeting for space at one or all of these food fests (which include an open bar), then enjoy your ROI.
• R.I.P. Press Kits?: Many editors welcome press kits, as long as they’re compacted onto a thumb drive or CD. But now it appears Media 2.0 is all the rage, with traditional media, bloggers, social networkers, podcasters, and videobloggers instantly capturing a first glimpse of innovative new products with their own mini-camcorder, sound kit or digital camera. They jot down a few notes and pricing information, and then take off in pursuit of the next big thing.
• Bloggers Are People Too: Speaking of bloggers, show them some respect. Many are seasoned journalists from top publications and distribute news in an engaging format. Engadget had 10 million page views in a single day during CES and MacWorld in January 2006.* Did Engadget visit your booth this year? Here is some coverage from my client’s briefing: http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/06/d-links-xtreme-n-dir-685-router-is-also-a-digiframe-nas-devic/
• Not Just Another Grind: The folks from “Will It Blend?” were stirring things up at CES. An overnight YouTube sensation, this Utah blender company launched with a one-minute video showing their product pulverizing an iPhone, then posted it to their website where it got six million downloads in 10 days.* A lot of bang for the buck. This year at CES, I saw Will It Blend?, now a YouTube mainstay, successfully grind a rake and a tape measure. Brilliant.
• Thank You For Not Smoking:, The Hong-Kong based company Desonic embraced the Costco approach and allowed attendees to sample its E-cigarette – a smoke-free electronic device that looks and puffs like the real thing but without the health risks — causing quite a commotion at their booth. Their ‘try before you buy’ strategy generated buzz for their product and a lot of strange stares in the non-smoking South Hall!
* Source: Robert Scoble, co-author of Naked Conversations, Scobilizer.com