Every year both the biggest and smallest companies in consumer tech get a chance to present their wares at the enormous CES show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Everyone from giants like Samsung and Volkswagen with their massive booths through to two-person startups with not a lot more than an idea and the hope they’ll get 30 seconds to pitch it to a passing VC gather in the desert for a week of high-pressure marketing and promotion.
With an event this large it is almost impossible for everyone attending to visit every booth. Time is always a little too short and companies look for any opportunity to cut through the noise and earn their few seconds in the limelight.
One effective way to find a way through is to enter a short video in the CES Press Pitch playlist. These videos can earn the companies and brands hundreds of thousands of views in the days before CES, and earn free media mentions from the press that will shape the stories emerging from Vegas.
We took a look at the more-than 100 press pitch videos this year, reviewing each one to find the products and ideas that are going to be worth investigating further at CES, and after CES, too. We saw great pitches, lots of average pitches, and some truly horrible pitches – the sorts of pitches that will send investors, reporters and consumers running away (rather than towards) a company’s CES booth.
Today we’re presenting what we think are the best press pitches from the CES class of 2016.
What Makes a Good Press Pitch?
A CES Press Pitch is meant to conform to a few basic rules. It is meant to mention CES, it should focus on the product, and it should be no more than 30 seconds long.
Of course, this being the world of business where the only rules are that there are no rules, each of the rules were broken – sometimes all three by the same company.
But even sticking to the format doesn’t mean that what a company produces is actually good work. If it doesn’t convince the journalist, investor, or consumer watching the pitch to click on a link, make a Google search, inspire them to seek out a website or – even better – add the company to the ‘must visit’ list during a CES 2016 visit, then the pitch is not really effective.
The best pitches clearly outline what the product or idea is, how the product or concept works, and highlights why it is the best on the market.
The worst? Well they do none of these, and maybe even leave the viewer more confused about what the product is and what the company has to offer.
CES 2016 Press Pitch Videos
At CES 2015 all of the press pitch videos were presented in a single playlist of more than 100 individual videos. This year, however, the press pitch videos have been separated into different playlists according to the area in which each product or company is operating. This is a step forward for CES as, instead of fighting through 80 potentially irrelevant videos seeking out the two dozen that are actually interesting and useful to a specialist publication or journalist, the filtering has already been done.
We selected one press pitch video from each of the playlists that CES 2016 developed representing what we think are both the most impressive pitches and some of the most exciting products at CES 2016.
Robotics, Gaming, and Virtual Reality
What We Liked: While Marbotic are not the first to move into tablet and touchscreen enabled educational play – Osmo has a remarkable product that is now established for the iPad, for example – they do have one of the first products to use traditional wooden pieces to interact in an intuitive way with the tablet screen in small hands. Their press pitch video is demonstrative, the narration is clear, and the way that the product will be used is immediately apparent to the viewer. It’s fun, it’s playful, and it’s the epitome of their style.
3D Printing, Automotive, and Drones
What We Liked: Digifabster is not selling a physical product but rather a SaaS solution that helps 3D manufacturers to deliver on the real promise of their businesses. The press pitch video clearly explains the struggles that a 3D manufacturer faces, the pressures to find the productive time in each day, and the pain points that must be overcome to succeed. The Digifabster solution, including its marketplace feature that allows a manufacturer to outsource some printing to others in the Digifabster network to meet demand, is clearly explained, speaks to all of the problems raised in the first part of the pitch, and offers a real solution to this emerging industry.
Audio and Video
What We Liked: Coming from the crowdfunding side of the business world, it’s clear that the Skybuds team know how to make an effective press pitch video. They explain the limitations of existing solutions, the features and benefits of their solution, and wrap it all up in a tightly produced package that leaves you with the question that all good product press pitch videos should leave you asking: where can I buy these things?
What We Liked: This is one of the most creative videos in the entire CES 2016 press pitch collection. It’s fun, inventive, breaks through the fourth wall effectively, and demonstrates the multiple ways in which the Flic button can be used in real life. What a marketer might call a ‘use case’, the viewer sees as examples of the potentially hundreds of ways in which the button can make daily life smoother, easier, and more fun. As the internet of things universe continues to expand, a startup like Flic is only going to become more interesting to consumers and tech journalists alike.
Smart Home & Green Technology
What We Liked: Most of the new products in this category were of the sort that had our team saying, “Yeah, that is kind of cool and I could use it, but I don’t need to use it”. Bixi is different. Almost everyone had been in a situation where their hands were dirty, too full, or busy doing other things to scroll that tablet screen, turn down the music, or change the channel. Bixi solves that problem with it’s gesture-based interactions with the internet of things, smartphones and more. The only downside for the company? Limited presence on social media is going top make sharing their great product hard to do outside of the CES 2016 exhibition hall.
Health, Fitness & Sports Technology and Sensors/Wearables
What We Liked: Some of the products in this category at CES 2016 are about changing lives, improving health, and helping people learn more about themselves. And then there’s Pop Stick, a product that is meant to make taking selfies with your smartphone easier and more convenient by removing the encumbering selfie stick. It’s not going to make you fitter, help you sleep better, or help stop the rise of obesity related illnesses. But what it will do is make taking selfies easier – and their press pitch video is perfectly on point here. In just a few seconds it’s clear what the product does, why it’s an improvement over the selfie stick, and the viewer is left wanting to give it a try. They’ll sell a million.
Accessories, Computer Hardware & Software and Wireless Devices
Go Tech Cell Budz (@GoTechCompany)
What We Liked: This product is one to be used, and the press pitch video showed a variety of use cases. The viewer is left in no doubt as to what the product does, how it might be more convenient than the existing ‘dig into your pocket looking for ear buds’ standard, and why they would want to buy it. The sole downside for the interested consumer? The company website is currently a work in progress. Here’s hoping that the Go Tech Company can get their site up in time to satisfy interested parties – and fast.
The press pitch videos at CES 2016 offer a glimpse into the exciting range of new consumer products that companies from around the world have brought to Las Vegas this year. While the headline stars of the event don’t need a 30 second pitch to the world’s journalists to ensure attention, for smaller players and startups it’s an easy way to break through the noise, find an audience, find a journalist, and gain some of the oxygen that’s needed to make an impact at a show that will welcome hundreds of thousands of people – and many more eyeballs online.
What did you make of our press pitch selections? Any you’d offer as alternatives? Let us know in comments below or on Twitter!