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As a recovering media agency person, I’m always on the lookout for opportunities for brands to make obvious and easy connections through new technology. This year, on the floor of Tech West at CES, those easy and natural opportunities are few and far between.

With the LVCC being dominated by screens, it’s the exact opposite at TechWest. As we walk the aisles of wearables, wellness technology, and smart home displays, the opportunities for obvious traditional display advertising – digital, video or otherwise, is practically absent. For many marketers on these tours, it’s difficult to imagine how brands can find meaningful interactions when each device or platform requires a very specific, curated approach. This is quite different last year where we saw immediate ad applications in great smart home technologies, like the brilliant Artemis mirror or the Whirlpool smart ovens.

It seems, however, that there are advertising opportunities beyond the traditional visual approach, across the senses.

Voice activation is everywhere, however, and it seems like Alexa and Google are like butter across the TechWest bread – it’s table stakes for every activation. Coke is launching their new energy drink with a spin on their continuing reinvention of the vending machine – a custom Alexa-driven vending machine that tells very cheesy Alexa-style jokes. It’s a charming take on giving Alexa more of a celebrity-style personality.

Smell is also making a quick appearance with Moodo and of course part of the P&G booth, with smart environmental diffusers. Could brands use this? Well – I can think of a great application for Aunt Annies, just off the top.

One of the most interesting senses still in it’s nascent stage is haptics. One of our tour favourites is the very accessible technology on display from Ultraleap, who has thought out very well how to incorporate haptic technology into on-screen content. Combining gestures with ultrasound technology, they’re demonstrating how product demos and on-screen gaming can be brought to life without wearables and smartphones, and it’s a terrific display experience that has our tour clients wanting to stay and play.

The ad world has already started to think about multi-sensory experiences for brands when it comes to audio, although one could argue that voice applications have lagged consumer adoption. We all need to think about how to get ahead of the next big sensorial adoption – probably starting with haptics. Exciting times for ad creativity!!

Source: Raw: Rethinking the ad model at CES Tech West