The Consumer Technology Association annual meeting –  CES 2021 – was held virtually this year. A number of companies came up with highly creative ways to exhibit their products and services and provide interactive experiences for attendees.

In the past, Procter & Gamble’s annual LifeLab has been a physical exhibit displaying their new technologies. This year, they created a new platform that emulates games like ‘The Sims’ and ‘Second Life.’ Attendees could personalize their avatars and then use their computer keyboards to enter an elevator that guided them through the company’s history. Once they arrived in a lobby, they had an immersive self-guided experience seeing P&G’s latest products, as well as learning about the company’s vision. The virtual LifeLab included a number of display rooms, a stage for giving talks, and virtual booths for focused conversations.

P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard said,“It’s one of those areas as we think about re-inventing advertising and creating new consumer experiences to create essentially a world without ads as we know them, gaming and the virtual experience is a major part of how we’re thinking about it and how we’re innovating.”

MediaLink and iHeartMedia hosted a virtual concert that featured technology from a startup called SpatialWeb. Attendees were able to float around a digital venue and chat with others.

“Obviously there was pent-up demand for meeting people and bumping into people, the other thing was the intimacy of audio,” said iHeartMedia CMO, Gayle Troberman. “It’s a really different thing than we’re doing all day on (Microsoft) Teams or Zoom. Video fills in the whole picture, but audio has this level of intimacy..”

GM says that the digital CES allowed them to utilize its audience-based marketing to reach more of the 52 million people within the automaker’s target market to discuss electric vehicles. The virtual format gave the company the opportunity to go more in-depth on technical issues ranging from battery technology and super grids to products design.

Panasonic  designed pathways for people to go directly to news information, along with creating immersive digital experiences – such as a concert and interactive product galleries to highlight products in different categories. Product experts were available to chat with virtual attendees and answer questions.

Audio company, Harman hosted a virtual event the week before the CES event where they revealed a variety of new products. The company states that by going digital instead of renting a hotel they were able to broaden their reach and more than double the 33,000 total registrants they had in 2020.