CES proved again in 2018 why it's the world's leading technology exhibition. Neither record-setting Las Vegas rideshares nor blackouts at the Las Vegas Convention Center were enough to keep event crews from dazzling press and attendees with "Whoa!" experiences, to borrow the event's emphatic tagline.
CES 2018 was a world unto itself, with nearly 300 satellite conferences happening up and down the Strip. Meanwhile the media circus surrounding the event was truly out of this world. By comparison, CES 2017 garnered nearly 1,000,000 social media mentions and 60,000 media mentions. That's enough mentions to approach the biggest sporting events in the world, such as Superbowl LI and Olympics 2016.
For many exhibitors, especially larger companies in our Enterprise category, the primary goal of CES is media attention and influencing the influencers. Every year, expectations grow higher. CES 2018 had nearly 4,000 exhibitors or 10x as many as Dreamforce (see the The Best Event Marketing at Dreamforce 2017).
To capture the attention of journalists, the Enterprise exhibitors needed to deliver not just innovative new product launches, but also showcase them in remarkable ways. See below for the best Enterprise exhibits.
For CES 2018, with so many exhibitors to cover, we've also included a Startup category. While operating on much tighter budgets, these startups exercised their event marketing muscle with creative strategies that delighted attendees and delivered real, measurable results.
Here's a recap of the best event marketing at CES 2018!
THE BEST ENTERPRISE EXHIBITORS @ CES
Remain Calm and Be Amazing – Intel
From an epic 250 drone show above the Bellagio fountains to ultra-vivid immersive VR experiences, Intel went all-out for CES 2018 with dozens of exhibits activations. As a component company (think "Intel Inside"), CES provides an important opportunity for the company to activate its brand and portfolio of next-generation tech to a much wider audience on an annual basis.
Intel's CEO also used his 2018 keynote to address a major PR crisis, due to a security issue, emphasizing the company's partnerships with and support from trusted tech brands, like Google and Microsoft. While not great timing for Intel by any means, the company effectively used dazzling demos at CES 2018 to redirect the conversation back to its core message - that "Amazing" is powered by Intel.
A Captivating Walkthrough – LG
One of the most shared images of #ces2018, LG's TV canyon transformed the main entrance of the Las Vegas Convention Center into a "better than the real thing" ultra-vivid naturescape series of red rock canyons and giant Sequoias, captivating both attendees and their cell phone cameras.
Don't Call it a Comeback – Polaroid
Storied photography brand Polaroid was revitalized at CES 2018 with a super fun and highly photogenic exhibit, featuring plenty of selfie opps in front of its iconic hardshell cameras and classic monochromatic branding. While Polaroid long ago quit the bleeding edge of technology innovation, the Polaroid exhibit certainly won CES 2018 by sheer count of visitors' smiles.
Partner All The Things – Google Assistant
No brand was more partnered up and omnipresent at CES 2018 than Google Assistant. Google came out hustling at CES with 20 foot high AI voice activated gumball machines, a 3 story playground, a Las Vegas Monorail wrap and hundreds of brand ambassadors strategically placed at partner exhibits throughout CES.
The reason for all this hoopla? With Amazon ahead in the race to power smart device AI, Google needed to play catch up and introduce its answer to Alexa. Enter Assistant, the AI behind Google Home. Thanks to CES 2018, we now know that Assistant also powers 150+ smart products, everything from watches to home appliances to cars.