I Have Attended Every CES, Who Cares?

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While the world is getting ready for the end-of-the-year holidays, the 200,000 people who are planning to attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas are in preparation mode for the January 7th to 11th event. CES is the largest trade show in the world and the center of innovation. I have been attending CES since its inception in 1967. There are only a handful of industry people who have been around as long as I have. Most early show attendees are either retired or dead. I was 19 at my first show so the fact that I lasted longer than most is no big surprise.

I used to have a lot of clout in the industry because our PR agency repped some of the biggest names in the business: Samsung, Sony, DuPont, Panasonic, JVC, Olivetti, Sanyo, and Philips. There were others but I can’t remember them all without checking our records. We also represented hundreds of smaller companies that were big at the time and are nowhere now. I was an industry reporter for the first 11 years of my CES journey (at Home Furnishings Daily and then at Consumer Electronics Monthly).

Then I became the owner of an agency that pitched more innovative products to the press than anyone else on earth. I got very little recognition for my accomplishments, though, because the founder of CES, Jack Wayman, had a girlfriend in PR for many years who competed against me. And now I am not a part of the in-crowd who work directly for the organizers. This in-crowd comes and goes, so I decided to stay as far away from that group as possible. They can’t take away from me the dubious distinction as “the longest survivor.”

Oddly enough, my agency is repping two products at CES that are getting a lot of the attention from the press: a 110-inch 4K TV set and the first high definition portable audio player. One of the biggest concerns I have in my working life is staying relevant, so I am thrilled to be in the middle of all the action without any formal CES affiliation.

I am in a giddy mood because today the Associated Press did a story on our client who is introducing the first high definition portable audio player at CES. The article is being picked up by hundreds of print and broadcast outlets. There is nothing finer in the world of a publicist. We pitched the product and the writer at AP did the rest. These days the digital world calls the editorial pickup that we are experiencing from AP “going viral.” Click here to see the original AP story and click here to see how Yahoo picked it up.

Tomorrow I am going to write about some of my most unbelievable moments at CES. A few are X-rated, so be sure to come back.

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