25th - 26th SEPTEMBER 2019  |  OLYMPIA

Execs from Pandora, TBWA, Washington Post and Reddit weigh the merits of CES

Ad Age 13 Jan 2020 10:32

CES is an inspirational oasis in a desert of tired ideas: Cool gadgets, piercing new ideas and networking on amphetamines. 

Or! Depending on who you ask, CES is a centerless sprawl of jargon, hype and BS. 

For these senior executives—super-vets to a person—there's enough there there to keep them coming back. Below we get insights on the ground from top executives at a streamer, a publisher, a platform and an agency. Each finds something of value in the annual marketing mess in the Mohave.

Watch the videos for more. 

Lizzie Widhelm, Pandora

Lizzie Widhelm is a super veteran of CES. This is her 12th trip to Las Vegas for the electronics boondoggle, all with Pandora, though this year marks her first consumer electronics show since Pandora was officially acquired by SiriusXM last February.

Here, the svp of ad innovation explains what she’s looking for on the floor for the music streamer—and she reveals what technology might prove to be the most potentially “life changing” for her personally. 

Jarrod Dicker, Washington Post

You would be forgiven if the idea of an electronics showcase didn’t conjure images of smudgy newsprint. But the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post says it is as much a tech company as it is newspaper in 2020. Just ask Jarrod Dicker, its VP of commercial technology and development, who is on the floor at CES looking for opportunities to take on the platforms. 

The Post has been building software Dicker hopes will place control of distribution and monetization of content back in the hands of the media companies that make it. Check out the video above for more from Dicker at CES.

Jen Wong, Reddit

This is Jen Wong’s tenth CES—but only her second as chief operating officer of Reddit, the self-styled front page of the internet. Ad Age caught up with Wong on the first day of the consumer electronics bonanza in Las Vegas to find out what’s on her mind before she hits the floor. With one in 15 people in the world spending time on Reddit—according to Wong—the platform is looking to educate brands on how to reach them. She is also, she says, personally hopeful for a kinder, gentler internet in the future. 

Check out the video above for more from Wong at CES.

Troy Ruhanen, TBWA\Worldwide

Troy Ruhanen has been coming to CES for more years than he can count, but you won’t catch him getting cynical. The CEO of TBWA Worldwide comes to meet with existing clients, sure, and possibly poach a few new ones.

But where he really finds inspiration is walking Eureka Park, the startup showcase at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. For all of technology’s ills, he says, the industry as a whole trends toward goodness and problem-solving.

Ad Age caught up with him as he was winding down his trip. Check out the video above for more.

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