The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is more than the world’s largest technology trade show. It’s a land where drones fly, cars drive themselves and a glimpse into the future is only a blink away. However, the number and quality of attendees began to fall short (even before the pandemic), media buzz started to take a negative tone and CES—once the destination for different—started to lose its pull.
Following the 2015 show, the show’s producer, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), knew they had to pivot. They could no longer rely on the event’s reputation, nor the ethereal print ad campaigns that were the cornerstone of the CTA marketing strategy. So when they came to HZ for help creating an integrated branding campaign that would excite the technology industry, we saw an opportunity for CES to own the moment of surprise and delight. And as it turned out, technology had nothing to do with it.
We began with attending the 2016 show for firsthand research. One thing was clear to us after we left Las Vegas on January 9: We couldn’t just develop a targeted and content-rich ad campaign. We had to develop a platform for the show for years to come. We needed a guiding light that touted the value of CES. A message that touched the hearts and minds of the audience. A platform that showed how the in-person experience of CES mattered more than any YouTube video or blog article.
That’s when it hit us: What would happen if we turned the camera 180 degrees to focus solely on attendee emotion? So we pitched the world’s largest technology trade show with a multi-platform, multicultural campaign without a single glimpse of technology. And we called it “Whoa.”
Through a six-month integrated campaign consisting of 150 interactive, out-of-home, print, social, video and web pieces, HZ’s campaign launched CES forward. We met objectives, surpassed goals and helped to drive more than 175,000 attendees to the CES 2017 show.
Due to the success of the creative, we leveraged its momentum to continue to capture moments of excitement in 2018 by taking “Whoa” to a whole new level with its sequel campaign. From print and web to social and out-of-home, our next-level Whoa campaign took over Vegas (and the internet) once again. Plus, our paid search ad campaign garnered 5.1 million impressions and more than 105,000 clicks—helping to drive CES site traffic and event attendance.