Carve’s Guide to CES

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