Biggest takeaways for ad execs from CES this year

"The pace at which Gen Z influencers are growing and evolving across platforms is really amazing."

Last week, advertising and marketing professionals from around the country flooded Las Vegas to check out - and show off - their latest technologies and innovations. 

Campaign US asked some industry insiders to share what they learned from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

What is your biggest takeaway or insight from CES this year?


Elav Horwitz, VP Global Innovation Director, McCann Worldgroup 

"My biggest takeaway from CES this year is this is the year of applied innovation with caring at the core of it. Caring for the environment like the eco-packing from Samsung or the smart kitchen from Haier, where you can grow your own plants, caring for people by thinking about privacy and beautiful user experiences, caring for employees like Delta and how they use robots to help their employees do their work better and safer. For us, as marketers and advertisers, it means that this year for brands to shine. Not only tech players, but also marketers can use technology and innovation in a more meaningful way that will make people’s life better."

Amy Hellickson, Managing Director, Laundry Service

"The pace at which Gen Z influencers are growing and evolving across platforms is really amazing. Young talent is defining how marketers look at media opportunities like TikTok and Brat, and ultimately it's going to be on us as marketers to make sure brands have a meaningful role in these new channels. This is one of the biggest opportunities on my mind right now and I am excited about it."

Tessa Conrad, Global Director of Operations, TBWA

"This year, Eureka Park, the area for global start-ups at CES, seemed to have gotten its act together, making for a much more vibrant and ready-to-go experience. Tech was extremely consumer-focused with start-ups looking at direct-to-consumer distribution, a shift from previous years that were more reliant on partnerships and potential. This meant a plethora of sleek working prototypes, many items already available (or soon to be) for purchase and more lively conversations with the early adopter passersby. The opportunity for brands is to find smart ways to partner with these innovative companies early, or better yet, to be driving more product innovation within their own organizations.

A byproduct of this was the increase in high-quality demos readily available, in Eureka Park and on the main floors. From VR to drones to tracking your data to more, this year put the tech directly in the hands of those there to see it and made it a fun, interactive experience that has been less easily attained in years prior. It was a great start to the year and I’m hoping this trend continues at CES in future years."

Matt Weis, President, Strategic Growth, Huge

"180,000 came and now they know what really matters -- brains over beauty.  From the connected home and smart toilets, to wearable headbands that monitor your health and LG's flexible mini sized screens, we are now better, smarter and faster with the aid of connected technology. Call it a shift from the internet of things to the intelligence of things -- what a wonderful new era we find ourselves in."

Pete Stein, Global CEO of Huge

"A few years ago, we saw bigger and better screens.  This year it was all about a richer off-screen life, whether through AR or robots.  Tech is going to continue to integrate into our lives in an organic way."

Ryan Linder, Global CMO, MDC Partners

"CES isn’t just a window into the future, it’s a mirror reflecting the untapped creative marketing opportunities of the present. We are seeing fewer concepts and more demonstrations of real, in-market innovations that are improving people’s lives -- whether it’s smart devices aiding health and longevity, foldable phones giving us more screen real estate, enhanced streaming services demanding new ways of advertising, or autonomous ePallets that will be ready to transport Olympic athletes THIS summer -- every business and agency leader should be thinking about how they take advantage of the intersection of creativity and technology."

Pete Caban, Co-Founder and Chairman, Mekanism

"CES made it clear that the new decade is about making good on the predictions and promises of the last decade - from creativity and personalization, to data enabling creativity, to meaningful adoption of AR and VR. Many of the business and consumer technology pieces are now in place for brands, agencies and production companies to bring these new capabilities to life." 

Brad Alperin, SVP, Integrated Strategy, Dentsu Aegis Network

"If there was one recurring theme at CES this year, it was the push-pull between personalization and privacy. Consumers like the idea of being treated as an individual and not just a "visitor" or a demographic…Greet us by name, know our preferences, make relevant recommendations. While at the same time, we’ve learned the potential harm that data can cause. Think hacked home cameras and data breaches. Consumers have let us know that being personal requires more than mere personalization – it requires treating the individual, their needs, and their data with respect. Everywhere at CES, products were trying to provide us with personalization or privacy, the real winners will be the ones that give us both."

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