Lead Dog Marketing Group Inc., New York, 212-488-6530, www.leaddogmarketing.com
Taylor Manufacturing Industries Inc. (The Taylor Group), Brampton, ON, Canada, 905-451-5800, www.taylorinc.com
International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), 2016
$300,000 – $399,000
➤ Generate media coverage.
➤ Increase consumer preference for Intel products.
➤ Leverage unique product demos to drive booth traffic.
➤ Be ranked as the best or among the top five exhibits at the show by more than 50 percent of attendees.
➤ Achieved a net promoter score of more than 80 percent.
➤ Netted 13,000 blog and news mentions.
➤ Attracted 85 percent of CES 2016 attendees.
➤ Surpassed its best-of-show ranking benchmark by more than 17 percent.
Conventional wisdom will tell you that doing the same thing at a trade show year after year will start to feel stagnant and uninspired. But Intel Corp. doesn't subscribe to convention. The chip maker has been exhibiting at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for years and has executed the same core strategy at its last few appearances: an exhibit chockablock with product demonstrations. In 2008, it was F1 simulators, 2013 brought a "tree" made of Ultrabooks, and 2015 introduced leadership panels and Fireside Chats. Over the years, the company has established a reputation as an experience destination at the show by conveying that the technologies powered by its chips are much more interesting than the chips are on their own.
So when the company thinks "product demonstrations," it isn't thinking a lineup of MacBooks and Microsoft Surface tablets carrying the "Intel inside" sticker. No, it's thinking about robust experiences that entrench visitors in Intel, its vision, and its ability to create something that people can't get anywhere else on the show floor. "Today, people can read product reviews online and even in stores," says Victor Torregroza, brand experiences program manager at Intel. "For CES, we like to create unique, immersive experiences that our booth visitors will love and share."
Offering interesting experiences at a trade show draws a crowd, but Intel wanted to do more than get a proverbial fist-bump from attendees at CES 2016 – it wanted to increase consumer preference for its products and technologies. And beyond that, it sought to demonstrate how its technologies and innovations could improve people's health and well-being. That was a tall, if not altruistic, order for the chip maker from Santa Clara, CA. But Intel was prepared; after all, this wasn't its first time at the rodeo.
Torregroza and his team drafted a bulletproof strategy for the show that had been vetted by Intel's creative director and chief marketing officer. It also aligned with the company's key performance indicators: amazing experiences, purchase intent, and increased positive perception of the Intel brand. "The ratified event strategy became the foundation for the exhibit and experiential program planning," Torregroza says. "It was then incorporated into a creative brief that we used to inform our design agency's process."
That approved brief – which included the health- and well-being-themed product-demonstration strategy and accompanying tactics – was delivered to Lead Dog Marketing Group Inc., a New York-based creative agency; Taylor Manufacturing Industries Inc. (The Taylor Group), a Brampton, ON, Canada, production firm; and the staffing agency Professional Staffer Services. It outlined an exhibit that would feature approximately 30 product demonstrations, divided into four experiential zones that aligned with topics introduced in the CES keynote given by Intel's CEO: Health and Wellness, Creativity, Gaming, and Sports. The individual demos, then, were to be next-level, immersive, unique, and memorable experiences designed to engage visitors for hours on end. "We crafted these experiences to serve as emotional moments to help attendees comprehend the Intel story and share it with their online communities," Torregroza says.
When the CES show floor opened and attendees began making their way through the endless aisles of human-sized drones, augmented-reality goggles, and Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices, they came across Intel's booth. Its SenseScape interactive installation was positioned front and center, like a tech-enhanced beacon of experiential promise. Whimsical harp music and an expansive digital "water wall" seduced passersby as the strings and water seemingly undulated of their own accord. Staffers equipped curious attendees with custom-made bracelets embedded with IoT-powered Intel Curie technology, which enabled users to pluck the harp strings and generate beautiful visual effects and movement on the monitors displaying the wall of water. As the interaction took place, staffers explained how the Curie module works with IoT-enabled devices.
"For CES, we like to create unique, immersive
experiences that our booth visitors will love and share."
But the SenseScape installation was only the tip of the experiential iceberg. As visitors looked beyond the wall of moving water, they saw four 22-foot-tall mannequins featuring a mix of solid and wire-frame limbs. Each of the oversized mannequins, positioned in various forms of repose and bathed in an ever-shifting spectrum of magenta, red, blue, and green lighting, marked the four themed zones within the exhibit.
In the Health and Wellness
Zone, brand ambassadors treated attendees to a rare but coveted show-floor activity: a bit of shuteye. After removing their smartwatches and donning Intel-enabled wearables, attendees could slip into an "energy pod" for a three-and-a-half-minute power nap. As an attendee eased into the chaise-like chair and the white hood lowered over his or her torso, the wearable tracked the napper's biometrics and displayed them on a nearby laptop. Upon waking and exiting the pod, the rested attendee reviewed his or her results with a staffer, who analyzed the heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate, and pointed out ways to use the data for improved performance and rest.
Sixty percent of attendees said they were more favorably inclined to use and/or purchase a device powered by Intel technologies as a result of their booth visits.
This zone also featured the Intel-powered Nabi Connected Baby system, a smart-clip connected baby monitor that leverages the IoT to send information about a baby's health to the parent's smartphone. Think of it like Amazon Echo, but for babies. Boasting a small, wireless, wall-mounted camera and stand-alone tower similar to the Echo, it's triggered by voice and movement. For example, if a baby wakes in the middle of the night, it automatically queues up soothing white noise and soft lighting.
By demonstrating how its technology can be used in devices designed to calm both tired adults and fussy babies, Intel intimated that its innovation knows no bounds – age or otherwise.
In the Sports Zone, visitors encountered fitness-based experiences, including a biking activity powered by Recon Jet smart eyewear, which is essentially a computer for your face. As a rider pedaled on the stationary bike, the Recon Jet tracked various metrics and made suggestions for improved athletic performance. The real-time suggestions appeared on screen just below the user's right eye and included pace, distance, and direction, all made possible with the device's 3-D accelerometer, 3-D gyroscope, 3-D magnetometer, pressure sensor, and infrared sensor. The eyewear, equipped with a camera, also displayed maps as well as call and text notifications when synced to a user's smartphone. As bikers cycled, staffers explained how to operate the eyewear and take photos with a simple tap of the button located on the right side of the frame. Having all that information right in front of you, staffers explained, meant that wearers could focus on their tasks rather than stop and take out their smartphones for photo ops and heart-rate checks.
If biking wasn't attendees' thing, video-gaming systems equipped with Intel Core i7 processors were right around the corner. Competitive video gaming, also called eSports, is a huge market, with winners of such competitions pocketing multimillion-dollar prizes. And it requires highly responsive technology to excel. Here, staffers coached visitors on how to play various video games and encouraged them to take on professional gamers and tournament champions while online fans watched on the game-focused streaming platform Twitch.tv.
"We picked the most popular games at the time of the show," Torregroza says. "This activation brought visitors and those at home into the Intel experience while showcasing the performance of Intel's Core processors in the latest OEM gaming systems."
After getting their fill of virtual and physical exercise, visitors continued their experiential enlightenment in the exhibit's most popular attraction: the Gaming Zone. Here, attendees could jump right into the "augmented reality sandbox," a multiplayer game that used a responsive sandbox surface instead of a traditional television screen. That means players created the characters and "worlds" in which they operated versus conventional games where the worlds and characters already exist. In other words, sandbox games allow for endless possibilities. Attendees manipulated and explored the projection-mapped landscape thanks to a combination of an Intel RealSense R200 Camera (which enabled the game's augmented-reality options and interactions) and a console with an Intel 6th Generation core processor.
Before leaving Intel Corp.'s exhibit, select attendees could visit a 3-D laser-etched selfie station that produced a unique parting gift: their likenesses embedded inside a crystal-clear cube.
Stepping out of the sandbox and into an immersive driving simulator, attendees slid into "simulation pods" designed to mimic the experience of driving a real race car. While zooming around a virtual track, drivers experienced force-feedback steering, rumble motion, and head tracking, all of which delivered a realistic look at life in the fast lane.
Another favorite, according to Torregroza, was the personal game avatar activity. Brand ambassadors invited attendees, one at a time, to walk up to a PC equipped with a RealSense depth-sensing camera. Standing motionless in front of the computer, visitors had photos and videos taken of their faces as the camera captured their likenesses. The imagery was then projection mapped onto the face of a 22-foot-tall soccer player mannequin, creating a larger-than-life photo op. "It was a seamless, interactive way to showcase Intel's technology innovation via an amazing experience," Torregroza says.
And what's a CES exhibit without a drone cage? Intel had that, too. Attendees stepped inside the cage and piloted Yuneec drones featuring RealSense R200 cameras around obstacles.
While attendees flexed the left sides of their brains in the Health and Wellness, Sports, and Gaming zones, they headed to the Creativity Zone for some right-brain activity. After a short tutorial from a professional artist, attendees donned the latest virtual-reality headsets and created art using 3-D controllers as paintbrushes. From the outside, it looked as if the artist was simply standing there, waving his or her arms around. But the person wearing the headset could see the art being created, and the work was displayed on a nearby screen for all to view.
If visitors struggled to find an artistic muse, they could try their hands at the Curie Jam Session. Using an Intel Curie-connected glove, a would-be musician could rock out on an air guitar or tickle the ivories on a virtual piano. Following their in-booth jam sessions, attendees could share their performances via their choice of social-media channels.
In addition to the zone-related activities, Intel's exhibit offered several stand-alone experiences on its perimeter and outside the convention center, including a demonstration of connected-car and smart-home technology (via a Jaguar Land Rover), a 3-D laser-etched selfie station that rendered a crystal "image" keepsake featuring attendees' likenesses, and an outdoor BMX exhibition of athletes performing tricks on bikes outfitted with Curie sensors that output statistics in real time. Bottom line: Intel had something for everyone, inside and out.Demo Dividends
From piloting drones and driving race cars to playing air guitar and taking power naps, visitors to Intel's exhibit had seemingly endless entertainment options – a coup at the world's largest technology show. But did the experiences move the needle toward Intel being perceived as an experience company? In a word, yes.
Based on exit surveys executed by Evolio Marketing and Exhibit Surveys Inc., 95 percent of respondents agreed that "Intel makes amazing experiences possible." That figure represents
a 7-percent increase compared to the 2015 show, and it helped Intel claim the No. 1 spot when it comes to brands that are viewed as leaders in breakthrough technology. Not bad for a chip maker.
In addition to approximately 30 product demonstrations, Intel Corp.'s exhibit also featured the Spotlight Theater, which hosted question-and-answer sessions and panel discussions.
Results from the exit surveys also revealed that 96 percent of attendees said Intel was a brand they trust, 93 percent felt Intel demonstrates thought leadership and innovation, and 93 percent agreed that Intel makes products that perform better than its competitors. What's more, 68 percent of visitors indicated that Intel was the best or one of the top five exhibits at CES – surpassing the company's benchmark by more than 17 percent.
In addition to the on-site exit survey, Intel also conducted post-show research to gauge attendees' reasons for visiting the exhibit. Of those who responded, 87 percent reported they sought out the company to learn about its new technologies. That same survey revealed that 85 percent of CES attendees visited the booth, surpassing Intel's targeted-audience figure of 110,000 B2B attendees, media reps, and influencers by about 34,500.
And here's where it gets interesting. Torregroza and his team hoped to influence brand perception with myriad tech experiences – and they succeeded. Sixty percent of attendees said they were more favorably inclined to use and/or purchase a device powered by Intel technologies as a result of their booth visits. Furthermore, Intel's net promoter score (the likelihood of consumers to recommend a company and its products to others) among CES visitors was plus 80 percent. To put that into perspective, the norm for tech companies is plus 30 percent. And although the Intel exhibit drew a much larger crowd than the company had targeted, 89 percent of those that visited had decision-making roles, with the average planned purchase amount equaling $3 million. That's roughly 10 times Intel's budget for all of the product demonstrations combined.
The exhibit's cool factor also drew media attention, generating 13,000 mentions in blogs and online, print, and television news outlets. That's a huge feat given the nature of the show and the fact that every one of Intel's competitors was right around the corner (or across the aisle). And it can conceivably be tied back to Intel's reinvention of the product demonstration. "In- tel was able to use multilevel product demonstrations to appeal to a wide range of attendees," said one Sizzle Awards judge. "The booth was created to draw people in and make them stay for a while. They stocked the exhibit with numerous different experiences, all powered by Intel, to shift brand perception from product company to experience company. And it worked."
Indeed, by creating memorable activities focused on demonstrating how humans benefit from its technology, Intel proved once again that its products are more than meets the eye – they enable experiences that enrich lives. E