What happens in Vegas: 3 execs on their craziest CES stories
This article appears in the latest issue of Digiday magazine, a quarterly publication that is part of Digiday+. Members of Digiday+ get access to exclusive content, original research and member events throughout the year. Learn more here.
For media companies and marketers, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is a great time to test out emerging new technologies, network with potential new business partners and catch up with existing clients. It’s often also a week of debauchery and insanity in Sin City. Here are some of the craziest stories, told to Digiday by anonymous media and marketing execs:
A random night with strangers that goes anywhere
As told by a former media startup exec: “CES can be brutal to startups your first time, so you need to make new friends fast and learn the power of asking, ‘Hey, where’s next?’ Sometimes it works out great, like stumbling into a dinner with large-brand CMOs or people who can become investors. Sometimes it’s a fun dead-end, like the time I wound up after midnight at a UFC gym off The Strip watching a ‘Voice’ finalist serenade Monster CEO Noel Lee on a gold Segway, with a dozen young break dancers who were probably five hours past their bedtime … and maybe Ne-Yo? Except he wasn’t singing, just looking sharp in a great hat.”
So you wanted to see Rick Ross for free?
As told by a media exec: “Just because there are big names booked for a free party doesn’t mean there’s not a price to pay. I was thankfully late to an event featuring Rick Ross a few years ago. The guy in front of me said he’d already sat through two hours of speeches and awards from regional salespeople at mid-market retailers. Clearly, he was a man who loved ‘Pop That’ and ‘Bag of Money,’ but he threw his hands up and left when another group from Ohio was called onto stage to celebrate because ‘all they do is win.’ The ‘Teflon Don’ couldn’t get him to stick around.”
The best David Copperfield story you’ll ever read
As told by a longtime TV exec: “There’s a lot of secret shit you don’t hear about. A few years ago, a lawyer I knew tapped me on the shoulder at this dinner and told me to meet him at this address way off The Strip at midnight. I thought that was just weird. But he said it was for his client, David Copperfield, and he does this thing that no one knows about but that I definitely needed to see. Apparently, David Copperfield runs a private tour where he brings a group of 10 or 12 people into his lab — which is at this warehouse.
So I go alone to this address. It’s way off The Strip. It’s pitch black. I’m in a parking lot, and I’m looking at some dinky warehouse with a storefront. At midnight on the dot, a black SUV pulls up and Copperfield gets out. He invites me and the other people in and opens the front gate and you walk into what is an exact replica of his dad’s men’s clothing shop from New Jersey. He says it’s an exact replica and it’s where he grew up doing magic tricks on the counter.
He then takes us to this dressing room and pulls on a tie, and the whole wall moves out of the way and you’re now in the warehouse, which is basically a movie about his life and career. His entire collection of tricks, outfits, and a team of minions who are working on tricks for the next five years. He does this for three hours, shows you tricks and everything, and then you’re back out on the street at 4 a.m. going, ‘What the fuck just happened?’”
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