AdExchanger: CES 2017 Will Soon Light Up Las Vegas, And Here’s What To Expect

By Ryan Joe, AdExchanger

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which officially kicks off Thursday, is fundamentally a hardware show. It’s a sprawl of new toys that consumers will either really want (drones!) or want not at all (3-D TVs!).

“One needs to be careful about CES, as there are a lot of things on display and aren’t relevant for the people in advertising,” said Tom Goodwin, EVP and head of innovation at Publicis’ ROI agency, Zenith.

Like other ad industry attendees, he’s less interested in 8K TVs and more interested in the way upcoming platforms and content-choosing devices will affect how people interact with media.

Jeff Malmad, Mindshare North America’s head of mobile and Life+, Mindshare’s Internet-of-Things (IoT) practice, said the show is particularly valuable for spurring new ideas.

That’s perfectly fine for many of the marketers in attendance. Before joining News Corp–owned Unruly, Jeff Minksy had an extensive agency career at OgilvyOne, Rapp and Omnicom, and he’s had substantial experience in leading marketer clients around the show floor. The forward-thinking ones are keen on innovation.

“They want to see the newest stuff, even if it isn’t scalable,” Minsky said.

Enthusiasm for CES seems more muted this year, however, as attendees, having barely shaken the tinsel and mistletoe from their hair, approach the show with what can best be described as a sense of professional obligation. In one of the most baffling scheduling decisions since 2012, when CES stopped coinciding with the Adult Entertainment Expo, the tech extravaganza this year runs from Thursday through Sunday.

Because few enjoy having their weekend obliterated by a business conference, much of the advertising-related activity is squeezed into the first two frantic days.

Ad buyers don’t know exactly what to expect before the show formally kicks off, but many want to check in on the incremental progress made by past innovations, such as addressable TV, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI).


IoT and other connected devices are always a big topic at CES, Malmad said. In 2016, many of the ideas blossomed, and marketers really began to anticipate how things like wearables could be applied to campaigns.

This year, Malmad is particularly excited about the connected home.

“Last year, you saw brands partner with Amazon,” Malmad recalled. “Your dishwasher knows how many loads you did, and can automatically order [detergent] through Amazon. You don’t have to think about purchasing those products; they just show up.”

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