Jan 07, 2019

Viacom executives on why CES has become a destination for those interested in the future of media.

The Consumer Electronics Show has been ground zero for the newest gadgets and tech. But now, amidst the tech fanatics, are marketers. In addition to being a hardware and product showcase, it’s a venue for advertising partners to develop ideas and make connections. Nearly 25,000 advertising and marketing professionals attended CES last year, a 200% increase since 2014—and it’s expected to continue to rise this year.

CES gives advertisers and the broader creative community an opportunity to see how the latest technology and innovations will transform the industry in the year ahead. With voice assistants and companion robots changing the ways consumers and technology interact, advertising organizations are looking at the potential to target consumers based on where they've been and where they're going. Brands are also eager to make connections and close deals.

“This year, Viacom will be engaged in a wide variety of events at CES. Bob Bakish will be giving a keynote speech on Wednesday morning. We have senior leadership interviewing CMOs and speaking on a number of panels at the Girls' Lounge, and a full schedule of meetings with clients and agency partners,” says Viacom’s EVP of Ad Sales Karen Phillips, who’s slated to interview Alison Lewis, Global CMO of Johnson & Johnson as part of the Brand Innovators Summit and will appear in a Girls’ Lounge panel. “Also, our business development team will once again be walking around the convention center trying to find the next new product or brand for us to work with.”

Great technology inspires great marketing.

The event’s main show floor is the first stop for many leaders in the advertising space to generate ideas on how to reach consumers. And, because the pace of technological and consumer change is exponential, the floor is different every year.

“The advertising industry lives and dies by its ability to tune into whatever the medium of the moment is,” says Diego Medina, VP, Advanced Advertising—Innovation Products at Viacom. “What we look to get out of CES is a little bit of a check-in to understand where everyone sees things going and for us to make sure that our roadmap is aligned where media itself presumes to be going.”


"The ecosystem around the exhibit floors is bigger than ever."

Paul Kontonis


The consumer is at the center of the roadmap. Brands and executives know that as people use the products that come out of CES, their behavior changes with the technology. The event provides a unique opportunity to learn how to reach consumers with the next big thing, long before that thing is even available on the market.

“I am on the lookout for any new technologies that can improve the relationship advertisers have with their customers through storytelling,“ says Paul Kontonis, CMO of WHOSAY. “The ecosystem around the exhibit floors is bigger than ever.”

While TV maintains its status as an effective ad medium, CES-goers can expect to see a wide range of emerging innovations with the potential to inspire new storytelling formats never conceived before.

“Being able to see and hear about new technology applications across a broad set of industries is invaluable in coming up with inventive and useful applications for the media space,” explains Kodi Foster, SVP of Data Strategy at Viacom. Foster is scheduled to discuss enterprise innovation in a Girls' Lounge panel on January 8.

A den of deal-making.

Over the four-day event, VIP dinners, hospitality suite meetings, and uniquely the C-Space at the Aria, will serve as hotspots for negotiations that will set the tone and agenda in the industry for the year.

“The opportunities to connect with our clients, prospects, and peers in a concentrated few days at the start of the year is very powerful,” says Kontonis.


"Ultimately, Viacom's in a really unique position, because we can understand the advertising but we ourselves are the media, so all we need is the third piece of relating it back to these electronics mediums, and boom—we've got the triangle of perfection."

Diego Medina

VP, Advanced Advertising—Innovation Products at Viacom

From tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Snapchat, to premier automakers and rising startups, various industries will be present and likely open to new marketing platforms. 

“Ultimately, Viacom's in a really unique position, because we can understand the advertising but we ourselves are the media, so all we need is the third piece of relating it back to these electronics mediums, and boom—we've got the triangle of perfection,” says Medina.

As the internet, TV, and technology continue to become more closely intertwined, CES is set to become an even more important event for executives looking to not only gain a real-time and critical view of the industry but also to solidify their brand’s place in it.

“Given our new product offerings including influencer branded programming, shopper marketing, and experiential solutions coupled with our capabilities in linear and OTT video, the timing is perfect and represents another opportunity for Viacom to be seen as an industry leader,” says Phillips.