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Rants N Raves: 5 Tips On How To Use Celebrities At CES


Today’s guest post is from David Schwab of Octagon. I met David a couple years ago on Twitter. We share a passion for sports marketing (although David has far more experience than I do in that niche). Today, David shares his insights on how to effectively use celebrities at CES (happening this week in Vegas)–some good points to think about from a larger PR/marketing perspective in any industry when it comes to trade show marketing.

CES, the Super Bowl of Technology takes place this week in Las Vegas. And just like the big football game, there are countless people (customers), hundreds of brand/product launches, a large number of media (and bloggers/citizen journalists), distractions at every corner and celebrities/influencers being used to break through the clutter. Fortunately, the new technology age makes it is easy for your brand to research (quickly I might add) recent successes and failures at CES to help you figure out your best game plan. So before determining the marketing tactics employed onsite, please write down a list of conference marketing goals (e.g., media impressions, retail buy-in, twitter followers, facebook likes, YouTube views, face-to-face meetings, etc.). Then create your activities around these needs. Focusing on your end results will help you reach your goals. And in knowing that it’s critical to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time, I’ve listed five specific tips on how best to use celebrities in marketing your activities onsite.

1. You must standout. Lady Gaga/Polaroid and Diddy/Dr. Dre Beats were perfect examples last year (and expect Gaga & Polaroid to do it again this year too). At CES, big IS better.

Your message and product must be worthy of news. Don’t just rehash information because of the audience size. Be first to market and scream from the rafters. After your launch activity, quickly edit a 30-60 second YouTube-type piece that can be distributed and easily monitored for click-throughs/success (make it engaging and light-hearted if possible. A corporate marketing video will not spread). The earlier in the week with news will give your brand and PR/digital agency time to spread and push the information to all.

2. Social Media & Digital Engagement. This seems so obvious, but reporters, bloggers and the audience want to see social media engagement and usage. Make sure your talent is fully up to speed and using appropriate hash tags and tag words to get picked up. It’s also a great place to create news, create a time capsule for your booth and build and your product launch (including the celebrity appearance and/or prep work). Don’t just stop at CES. Take advantage of the celebrity’s time the week after the event when people are returning home and sharing with their colleagues (most brands do not do this).

3. Timing is everything. Scan Twitter, the local newspapers, PR Newswire and other sources to find out when others are launching products and when key media will be focused on other items. As of five days before CES, there was already a document floating around the internet of 20-30 evening hospitality functions hosted by major companies. Also, the location of your announcement is important; somewhere that is easy for your target audience to get to and unique to others. It goes without saying, the location must have free wifi and live streaming is a given.

4. Relevant celebrities. Of course your talent needs to align with your brand and product, but you also want to work with someone that is relevant to pop culture….it will help for mainstream media and social media pickup as well as add to the “buzz about your item”. For example, the TV show Glee is going to have a huge Super Bowl season premiere. Everyone wants to know about it….even if a cast member won’t give details, the media would be all over them at least asking about it.

5. Start your marketing now. Just like the Super Bowl. Take advantage of the lead up anticipation to seed your story or at the very least, tease it. Take advantage of media, social media and all of your company’s assets (i.e. blog, email blast) in advance. Twitter conversation and online stories began 10 days before the actual start of CES. On site, be aggressive. Spread your message outside of the booth that you have purchased or the room you are using for your event(s). Seed and pre-seed.

What is the most successful celebrity + brand/product partnership you have seen in recent years and why? Also, who is the most compelling speaker you have listened to at CES?

David Schwab is a 18-year veteran of the sports and entertainment marketing world. Currently, he is the Managing Director of Octagon’s First Call division, where his group annually consults 100-plus brands on how best to use celebrities in their marketing campaigns, corporate speaking and hospitality needs. You can find him on twitter at @david_schwab and his blog www.celebrityacquisition.com.



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