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Dominating CES Through the Virtual Unknown


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For the first time in the history of CES, the pandemic transitioned the show to an all-digital experience. For those planning for CES 2021, it left a number of unknown variables—including how it would all come together on the platform. For Hotwire’s client, Targus, 2021 was going to be an exciting time for the company, with it launching not just smart B2B products but also products that were incredibly relevant to the pandemic including UV-C Disinfection and Anti-microbial ranges. Targus had an opportunity to elevate its storytelling and leave a mark at the virtual event.

Hotwire approached this brief to encompass four key areas: elevated messaging, an early timeline, deep dives with media, and assets. Here is how it all came together, helping drive success for Targus.

1. Building a smart strategy – audit, timing, and deep dives

Given the show format was completely new, the team immediately reached out to several key media to get a better understanding of each publication’s newsroom plans and the feedback was unanimously the same — press intended to cover the show digitally, but wanted to have all news announcements reported on before the show began.

With this key information, the team developed a media strategy to provide pre-briefs with the news and assets for Targus’s upcoming product announcements four weeks earlier than the team traditionally would have. With this approach, the Targus team of spokespeople were media trained and message-prepped to speak with press as early as mid-October, enabling the team to lock in deep dives with tier one media throughout November and December.

2. Messaging to make its mark

The team knew from following the latest trends, conversations, and the current landscape that health related technology would be one of the biggest themes and takeaways from the conference. As Targus had several key innovations in this area, including its Anti-microbial backpack and UV-C Disinfection Light, Hotwire developed a messaging approach that not only spoke to the product, but what these products mean for society, individuals, and businesses. This placed Targus squarely in the health-tech trend and was covered in a thought-leadership capacity in key business outlets.

3. Pre-Shows and SMTs were more important than ever

Pre-Shows such as CES Unveiled  and/or Pepcom are always a must-attend due to the high volume of media who drop by booths in one evening. Even though Pepcom last year was held completely from the comfort of our homes, it still proved to be the best way to secure media. The team ensured reporters were aware of Targus’s presence at the show and to drop by the digital meeting. In addition, we recommended that Targus make all their major press release announcements at Pepcom rather than the first day of CES due to our expectations of reporters making this their most important stop at the show.

While the foot-traffic could not compare to in-person, it offered more opportunities with media than all the digital CES days combined. The press release also caught the attention of major mainstream publications who immediately reached out to us to ensure coverage landed during the week of the show.

To drive reach, the team partnered with Jennifer Jolly who delivered a Satellite Media Tour on the biggest tech trends out of CES. This was an incredibly successful additional tactic to ensure Targus’s key products were seen by a national, mainstream audience.

4. Assets, assets and more assets

At an in-person CES, media run around all day to the different booths capturing high-quality content of the most exciting innovations. With this being digital now, building a strong and diverse asset bank was of critical importance to ensure no opportunities were missed. The team worked with Targus to develop multiple pieces of content from hero product videos, product range videos, spokespeople content to b-roll for broadcast. All of this was ready by December to be shared with media well ahead of the conference.

The Results

While CES 2021 had less media and attendees due to its digital presence, Targus still came out on top. With all the key strategy elements in play, we were able to secure 71 media interactions, 4,400 Television Airings, 247 Published Articles, and 5 Best of CES Awards. Coverage landed across multiple outlets and verticals including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, The Verge, Tech Republic, Tech Radar, USA Today and more.

If you would like to learn more about Hotwire’s CES capabilities or to speak to our team of experts about an upcoming brief, please get in touch at