CES 2015: How Does It Translate For Marketing Exploitation?

CES exhibitions covered the equivalent length of 35 football fields and were traversed by 160,000+ attendees hoping to catch a glimpse of evolution’s progeny. A plethora of trade coverage ensued: Ultra TVs (curvaceous expansions and cord cutting alternatives), connected automotives and teasers of autonomous vehicles, wearables and domiciled Internet of Things (IoT), and burgeoning curiosities i.e., drones and virtual reality headsets.

One topic seemed to receive little scrutiny: the value of the Consumer Electronics Show for marketers – those not selling consumer electronics devices and advertising agencies.

Since the late 2000s, marketers and advertising agencies have flocked to the event in droves. This year, for the first time, the conference and trade press have emphasized the number of marketing/advertising executives in attendance: 5,315 professionals, up nearly 9% from the prior year.

Also, for the first time, CES worked in tandem with an advertiser trade association, the ANA, to create a special space, The C Space, for media professionals to meet and facilitate the exchange of ideas, which was promoted as “the official destination for the marketing, advertising, content and creative communities at CES.”



CES 2014 marked the first time that media mandarins questioned the exhibition’s value to justify the hefty cost (time and money) for those sent as emissaries. Having knowledge of these technologies and trends from a consumer usage viewpoint is of interest.

But ultimately, the questions that need to be addressed are: How does it translate for marketing exploitation? What are the implications for advertisers in furthering their objective of garnering greater engagement with loyal and potential customers for the introduction of new products and the upselling of their product lines?

Based upon the pre, mid and post CES discussion — trades and murmurings — little, if any, information addressed these specific issues. Great parties, terrific environ — both inside and outside of the venue — but helping brands refine their marketing strategies based upon audience behavior, unlocking information about consumer behavior, media consumption habits and campaign performance was notably absent from the exhibition coverage.

Since the conference, marketing and advertising executives are still digesting what they gleaned from the 2015 extravaganza. In the meanwhile, CES and its marketing cohorts are already stepping up promotion for 2016: “The media does focus on one question each year: why do brands and their agencies go to CES. For those committed to innovation, the real question is: How can they afford not to go?”

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