Cutting through the clutter of a trade show is rarely easy. Doing so at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, one of the nation’s biggest expositions, is even tougher, what with large and small companies hawking their latest high-tech gadgetry.

Facing the prospect of CES 2008 was just that much more of a challenge for NBC Universal. Talk about a fish out of water (or in this case a peacock) — NBCU is a pure content company. It would be competing for attention at CES without showing off new technology. Instead NBCU decided to raise the perception that the best consumer technology at CES would really be nothing without strong content. NBCU’s motto: You must talk content first when discussing consumer electronics.

Still, NBCU needed a spectacular venue to display its content. Its 5,400-square-foot booth did the trick. Not only was it located on prime real estate on the CES floor, but you literally couldn’t miss it, thanks to a 100-foot-long mobile, suspended 50 feet in the air, that represented NBC’s iconic peacock. Augmenting the big bird were life-size digital totems of NBCU talent inviting attendees to visit the booth.

But activities at the booth and the way it showed off NBCU content also were attention grabbers. The booth included two broadcast stages that were used for live coverage from CES that was fed into NBCU’s popular shows. Talent on hand included Today‘s Al Roker, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and CNBC’s money diva Maria Bartiromo. Brand walls with touch screens showed NBCU content in entertainment, lifestyle, sports/Olympics, news/business and international. An interactive wall let visitors move a monitor across a banner of different NBCU networks. When the monitor reached a particular network, a video reel of content from that network would play. Indeed, the booth let NBCU strut like a peacock.

Fast Facts

  • NBCU was the first pure content company to present at CES. Its booth attracted an estimated 80,000 visitors.

  • CES attendees received specially co-branded SanDisk flash drives that they could use at the NBCU booth to download 2GB worth of NBCU shows at special kiosks; nearly 10,000 shows were downloaded.


Honorable Mentions:

BlueHighways TV/October Strategies for More Than a Road, It’s a State of Mind! — For its first Cable Show booth, BlueHighways stayed on message. Offering a respite from Las Vegas hoopla, its white picket fence booth served fresh lemonade, warm cookies and live country music to some 1,500 visitors.

The Sportsman Channel’s Deer or No Deer — Parodying Deal or No Deal, TSC hired models dressed as deer to hunt down Cable Show attendees to play a simple but fun game at its booth that garnered buzz, 1,100 visitors and 500 cable operators’ contact information.

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