By Steve Winter, president of Brotman|Winter|Fried, a Sage Communications Company
If only there weren’t so many other things taking place at the same time, one could easily spend his or her entire time at CES in Las Vegas exploring the show’s newest venue — C Space at Aria.
Designed to serve as a hub for creative communicators, brand marketers, advertising agencies, digital publishers and related creative communities, C-Space was fashioned to effectively serve the needs of what CEA Senior Director of Communications Tara Dunion describes as a community that has quietly become a burgeoning audience segment at CES. “Over the course of the past few decades, brand marketers and creative professionals have flocked to CES in record numbers,” she said. “Most are onsite to serve a specific function, but while they’re here, they tend to discover and take action on the latest digital trends and network with other influencers in the digital content and advertising communities. CEA created C Space at Aria to support those needs while also serving as a central destination for these professionals.”
The response thus far has been exceedingly positive. On the final morning of C-Space, which was only open the first three days of the show, several hundred individuals packed panel sessions focusing on tactics and techniques to reach the next generation through TV and video alongside a session that focused on Subway Restaurant’s Fresh Take on digital, social and content-based media. Other sessions included TV data and measurement, fostering creativity in a technology saturated world, the relationships between privacy and measurements and headliner speeches from executives at Twitter, Havas, Yahoo and iHeartMedia – which also featured a celebrity appearance by Ryan Seacrest.
But along the way, this new venue has also attracted a second – and perhaps somewhat unexpected – audience.
“While I’m no longer in the TV world, two years ago I would have killed for this information,” said Kerry Sutton who recently left the media world for telephony. “Look at the experience in these rooms. You can just sit back and soak in all this information from executives across virtually every industry. It’s all important, all real and all here.”
For Jeffrey Lakes, who runs cardscashrewards, an electronic greeting-card business, the information he gleaned has been invaluable. “It’s helpful hearing directly from people that are living in this world,” he said. “All the experience provided me with a wide range of ideas and understandings into different ways I can apply marketing and promotional principles to my business. These sessions gave me a lot to think about in terms of getting my business to where I want it to be.”
To the casual observer, C Space at Aria at first appears to be something of a departure from the traditional show-floor concept of CES. In fact, to those who have experienced it, C Space is really a little more like South-By-Southwest which takes place each spring in Austin. While “South-By” features a small yet innovation-centric exhibit area, the show’s primary focus is a comprehensive multi-day lineup of seminars, programs, sessions, panel discussions and presentations. C Space at Aria appears to have adopted that philosophy while heavily integrating the content with digitally-focused marketing, branding and promotional elements.
So, what do the industry professionals think?
“The feedback we are receiving from the content community about C Space at Aria has been very positive,” Dunion said. “This program is making it easy for professionals who want and need to connect with each other onsite at CES to be able to do so easily and in one central location. While will debrief and brainstorm the future of C Space after this year’s show has wrapped, we fully expect this venue to grow and evolve for CES 2016 and beyond.”