Carve’s Guide to CES

How to Make the Most of the Media at CES


You’ve secured your booth. You’ve identified which members of your team will be on-hand in Las Vegas. You’ve got your product ready to go and your design team is working hard getting the booth ready for prime-time. You are ahead of the game and ready. 

But, do you have your PR plan in place? Do you know what media you want to target and how to reach them amidst the madness of CES? Let’s talk about how to ensure your PR game is ready for CES.  

  1. Build out your PR strategy now! Get it done by early November so you’re ready to start engaging the media early, during the holiday season and as they’re prepping for CES

  2. Media Events: Consider one of the media events we outlined in our last post and video -- Unveiled, Pepcom or Showstoppers. Each is a tremendously effective way to directly reach the media you want to talk to and is a great way to augment your booth schedule.  

  3. Build your media target list: Sure there are thousands of media attending from around the world, but you should focus on choosing your top 10-15 targets while you’re in Las Vegas that will move the needle when they cover your product or brand. 

  4. Awards: Make sure you’re keeping an eye on the dates for submitting for the CES awards and the media specific awards given out during and after the show. Winning an award adds a significant level of awareness and pushes your brand above the noise of the week. 

  5. Embargos: As part of your CES PR plan, especially when launching a product, have embargos set up with the media as soon as you have review units. Ensuring coverage of your product is scheduled ahead of time for publication during CES is essential.  

  6. Showrunning: The media are less and less inclined to schedule briefings with you at your booth so be prepared to be on the move. You have to walk the floor to find the media.  Badge-spot. Camera-spot. Have a demo product with you if need be. Bring your product to the media. CES is a big, busy place so you have to seek out the coverage you want.   

  7. Show-up Early: The most important media arrive a few days before the show opens for the pre-event media events and other meetings. Get to Vegas on Saturday or Sunday and get the media’s attention before everyone else arrives

  8. Get creative: Yes, there is a method to the CES media madness.  But sometimes it requires some out of the box thinking to raise your brand above the noise. A media event in your booth. A unique activation at your booth or outside the convention center.  A partnership with a bigger brand to piggyback on their name/brand cache. Celebrity engagement. Start thinking now and engage with your PR firm now to identify the most creative way to get the media to your booth and talking about your brand at CES.

Lorin Munchick
Making Sense of the CES Media Events


CES is the main event in technology. Thousands of exhibitors, hundreds of thousands of products on display and more than 100,000 attendees across 3 different locations within Las Vegas. Big global brands spend millions on their booth. Challenger and startup brands put everything they have into a 5 day sprint to engage enough retailers, distributors and partners to try and scale their business.  

But for those brands whose goal is to drive consumer awareness during and immediately following CES, engaging and activating at one of the three media-only focused events could be the best strategy to achieve your goals. 

During the week of CES, there are three media-only events that run concurrently with the main trade show - CES Unveiled, Pepcom and Showstoppers. 

CES Unveiled is hosted by the CTA, the organization that runs CES.  It is held at Mandalay Bay as part of the official CES program on Sunday night, January 5th.  Unveiled is very well attended to the point of being overcrowded. From a media perspective, all of the CES “what will we see this week” comes out of the event.  If you’re looking for global media coverage and the narrative of the week, Unveiled is a good show to participate in. One note is that you must have a booth within CES to participate at Unveiled. This is the only media event with that requirement.

Pepcom is held on the evening of Monday January 6th at the Mirage. This event is CES media speed dating.  There are hundreds of companies on display and a thousand plus media members in attendance. For a 3 hour event, there is a lot to see and lots of people to talk to.  Pepcom features a plentiful amount of free food and drink and interestingly enough, it takes place during the NCAA National Championship football game so there are always distractions. We’ve had a number of clients exhibit at Pepcom over the past few years that have seen some good media opportunities come out of it.  But it can be an overwhelming experience for some. With a 3 hour time constraint, it is critically important to have a solid team attending that can cut through less important conversations to engage top tier media walking past.

The final media event of the week is Showstoppers, held Tuesday night, January 7th at the Wynn. Of the three, Showstoppers is easily the classiest. This is a four hour event which definitely makes a difference in the ability to engage all attendees. And there is a very good exhibitor to media ratio so it’s not overly noisy or too crowded to have a quality conversation with the media. Lastly, there’s more room within the event hall, with tables nicely spread out giving you more space to pitch your product and the media more time focus on your narrative and demo. One perk of Showstoppers is the food at the Wynn. It has the best quality and best variety of food and drink. 

But while Unveiled, Pepcom and Showstoppers are media-centric and makes it easy to get face to face time with key reporters, editors and bloggers, you should still have a concrete PR strategy in place and where possible, the right PR firm behind you. Understanding the pros and cons of each event as it relates to your goals is crucial. Partnering with a firm like Carve Communications to refine your narrative and engage with media that will deliver impact, rather than just a request for free product, can be the difference between failure and success at CES.  

To learn more about these three events or to get more information on how Carve can help you capitalize on your CES investment, let’s talk more.  

Lorin Munchick


CES is not just an event, it’s an experience. The biggest CE brands in the world spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, to showcase their latest innovations.  

That being said, most companies participating in CES, including many of our clients, are startup or growth stage brands that don’t have six or seven figure event activation budgets. 

Not having a large budget doesn’t prevent a proverbial home run at CES, elevating your brand above the noise. There are countless brands, large and small, who have executed unique, viral and newsworthy activations at CES without breaking the bank. 

But every PR home run we’ve seen at CES over the years have had a few key elements which you should consider while concepting for Vegas this year…

  1. Make it Visual - Whether you’re showcasing your products in your booth or hosting an event in a hotel room, you not only have to put the spotlight on the product itself, you have to create a compelling visual that clearly illustrates how the product is used.

  2. Value - Your product is not only comprised of features. It has real, intrinsic value to the consumer. Ensure you talk about, illustrate and demonstrate the value proposition as much as possible and in most cases, even more than the features.

  3. Shock Factor - Don’t be afraid to shock people, smartly. Do something people won’t expect. Demonstrate your product in a way people wouldn’t expect. Create an experience that you wouldn’t expect to see at a consumer technology trade show. 

In the accompanying video, we highlight three PR home runs from last year at CES. These were from wildly diverse players within the consumer tech universe. One of these is an activation we at Carve created and executed for a start up brand launching a crowdfunding campaign. Another was from a global CE brand with virtually unlimited resources, and the third was from a well funded startup involving CPG marketing legends that was a unique food play.  But as varying as each of these instances were, they all had one thing in common that hit it out of the park. Each focused on the unique value proposition of their product which helped them rise above the noise and garner massive media and attendee attention.

Click here for a case study based on the Imalac CES experience.

Lorin Munchick
What to Expect at CES?


As we previously discussed, CES can be an exhilarating and overwhelming experience at the same time.  The days are long, your feet hurt and its Vegas so you know you’re going to have some fun along the way.  These are the things you can easily expect.  

Beyond the fun and excitement, it’s also important to have a clear set of expectations for the business side of CES and that starts with understanding who’ll you’ll meet while at the show.  

CES attendees are a diverse group from around the world including media, retailers, partners, distributors, influencers, competitors, analysts, and more. It’s a whirlwind of conversations, interviews, quick hellos, handshakes and hopefully, deals.

But with this wide variety of audiences, you also need to expect and be prepared to have different conversations with each. A retailer who stops by your booth is going to have a very different set of questions about your product than a distributor. The media, who are looking for the hottest products, will want to know why and how your product is different and unique from others in the same category in the same sector. Analysts are taking a long-tail view of the CE industry. 

Overall, the biggest thing to expect is that the value proposition of your product matters more than the features.  Everything you say in a two minute conversation at your booth and and every asset you share for someone to take back to their office has to clearly and concisely answer the question of Why.  Why did you create this product. Why should a consumer buy it? How will it make their life easier or better? Why should a reporter feature your product on their national morning show vs. your competitor.  

You haven’t just created a commoditized item, you’ve created a product that is special and unique in its own way. Yes, it has great features. But highlighting who uses it and the way it is used is where the true value of your product lies. 

Value is everything.

Lorin Munchick
Nine Things You Need to be Thinking About for CES Right Now

CES is the Super Bowl, World Series and World Cup Finals rolled up into an exciting, action packed, exhausting and potentially lucrative week in Sin City.

More than 175,000 people descend on Las Vegas to see and experience the newest and most innovative consumer electronics from around the world.

The media, more than 6,300 of them from 75 countries, look at CES as the beacon of what is hot and new in tech and innovation to the tune of 225,000 stories out of a single week in early January.

If you have a new product, whether you’re a startup based out of a WeWork or one of the world’s biggest CE titans, and you want to get it in the hands of a consumer, then CES is the place to be.

But you can’t just show up to CES and expect to rise above the noise and have your product or brand noticed. You need to start planning now.

The Carve Communications team has attended CES for 15 consecutive years, representing hundreds of companies and securing thousands of placements in media outlets worldwide. The biggest lesson of all from our experiences is that you have to prepare as early as possible to maximize the value of your investment in CES. To that end, we’ve put together this list of 9 things you need to think about right now to get your company ready for CES 2020…

david CES checklist_C copy (2).jpg

To get a copy of our “9 Things You Need to Be Thinking About for CES Right Now” checklist, fill out this brief form…

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Lorin Munchick
Winning at PR with a sustainable mindset

Winning at PR with a Sustainable Mindset

In any PR agency/client relationship, the most exciting time is launch or big announcement time.

Everybody is excited -- the client, the media, the client’s mother, partners, investors, etc. Launch day comes and coverage is rolling in and the client sees a huge spike in traffic and awareness and inbound emails and calls and messages.  

Hockey stick is in full effect.

But then...two days, two weeks, two months later…all is quiet. 

The excitement has worn off. The launch is behind everybody.  What’s next?

The PR firm keeps asking the client “what’s next?”  

The client asks the PR firm “what’s next.?”

The PR firm keeps sending the bill.  

The client asks themselves “what are we paying for now?”

This is a common problem we hear from many of our clients who come to Carve from other agencies. Their launches are great, but then they don’t see anything after. 

The problem is they, and their agency, are not operating with a mindset of sustainability. 

Launches are just moments in time. Instances that we prepare diligently for, and expend lots of time and energy on, to generate coverage and drive significant awareness. But again, they are just moments in time. Or as I like to call them, tentpoles.  

All campaigns and all clients have tentpoles, whether they are launches, funding announcements, partnership announcements, new hires, awards, events, etc. Each of these tentpoles are great and vital to executing a successful PR campaign.  

But again, these tentpoles are just moments in time. It’s the time and space in between the tentpoles that is even more important. 

This is where the real work of PR is done to find new and unique opportunities that aren’t known or obvious but need to be uncovered. Identify industry trends that you client can latch on to.  Engage with reporters you’ve never spoken to before. Find a thought leadership opportunity or contributing quote opportunity. Podcasts, YouTubers and other new forms of media that drive awareness. 

Practicing sustainable PR may be easier when you’re a big brand with lots of stuff in the pipeline or even a growth stage company with a decent marketing budget and activity stream. In our world, sometimes clients don't have a full pipeline of activity but still need effective PR to help them achieve their ongoing goals. 

We’ve worked with clients where we only had 1 launch announcement but kept that client for the long term because we constantly found ways to keep the client in the news and on the radar screen of the media by looking for new opportunities.  By thinking sustainably. 

A sustainable business is built on sustainable awareness amongst your target audiences. There is no better or more cost effective way to do that than through PR, media relations and earned media. 

David Barkoe