Las Vegas: The New Cannes


This week marked the annual b2b marketing frenzy known as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 155,000 visitors, a record, trundled across an Exhibition Area the size of 37 football fields. This year saw a new group of visitors, spirited away in hospitality suites far above the 3100 exhibitors and their booth babes- the Ad Guys. They took home far more than a bad hangover and free pens. They schmoozed their largest clients and closed fat advertising deals. 


The Ad Guys Were Too Busy at CES Schmoozing Clients to Meet Booth Babes
Within the conference, brands and digital advertising have moved to the mainstream. The catalyst was Coca Cola which last year held its global marketing pow-wow at CES, the first time ever outside of Atlanta. That certainly got the attention of the agencies. This year, CEO’s of the four largest advertising conglomerates attended, motivated by the large contingents from brands like Unilever, P&G and Citibank. The Brand Keynote Panel featured Facebook, Unilever, GE, Hyundai and AT&T. Publicis Groupe, whose CEO Maurice Levy made a Keynote presentation, hosted more than 100 clients for floor tours, speed dating and an unofficial start of the 2014 selling season. 
MEC, one of the Group M media agencies at WPP, brought more than just their senior management to CES. They brought a six point manifesto for clients like AT&T, Marriott, GE, SAB Miller, Campbells Soup, BDF, Blizzard, Michelin and others: Embrace open source and behave like programmers.
Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, announcing a new advertising platform that integrates Tumblr
Carl Fremont, Chief Digital Officer at MEC and a keynote at the upcoming Marketing & Ad:Tech Israel conference, explains. “Looking around CES, it is clear the new marketing paradigm operates in transparency, reactive in real-time, controlled by people, not companies”. 
1) Unlock Your Brand Code
Leverage what makes your brand unique and give full access to a brand enabling them to co-create on the brand’s behalf.  Make it easy for consumers to get involved with a brand and affect its direction, maybe even its values.  
2) Be Transparent and Authentic
Make sure your brand is not holding back.  Most importantly, let the consumer know you are inviting them in on co-creation of the brand’s message.  Consumers will repay you by sharing their brand “pictures” with their communities
3) Leverage Open Source Platforms 
Take advantage of the myriad of Open Source platforms and self service systems to stimulate creativity and drive innovation 
4) Create Communities that Share
Earned media value, where users share and distribute branded messages, experiences and promotions are made more powerful with personalization.  
5) Listen Intently
Open Source Marketers adopts an always on/listening mode to gather, interpret and adjust their marketing proactively to this intelligence
6) Be Brave
Being open means enabling brands to be built, promoted, evangelized and distributed by the very same people who buy your brands. 
The creativity at Cannes is being replaced by the innovation in Las Vegas. Surrounded by roulette wheels and blackjack tables, the Ad Guys know that Digital, which accounts for almost 40% of billings, is the only sure bet for growth. Las Vegas has become the new Cannes.