Intel Had Always Planned for a Digital-first CES: Inside its Pandemic-era Strategy

intel digital-first -CES2022_Spark

The Intel Spark with its 4K content on display showcased the 12th Gen Intel Core H-series mobile processor in a gaming experience.

Despite many brands pulling out of their planned physical experiences at CES’s grand return to in-person amid the omicron surge, Intel’s hybrid strategy for the show served as a lifeline that allowed the brand to stay the course on-site and implement a “digital-first live experience, with minimal on-site staff” that was in keeping with its health and safety policy.

Under the theme, “Altogether Wonderful,” Intel’s footprints across two venues, which it made available solely via digital platforms as part of this plan, served as rich backdrops and studios for pre-recorded and live-streamed content in the lead up to and over the course of the show, Jan. 5-7, across Las Vegas.

Intel famously left the show floor proper in 2020 in favor of taking over a restaurant for an invitation-only, intimate experience for its target audiences—customers, press and analysts, and employees. For this year’s show, the brand once again had planned to host a premium hospitality and networking experience with a takeover of the Canaletto Ristorante at St. Mark’s Square in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian.

In lieu of hosting audiences within the restaurant for this year’s show, Intel transformed it into a live studio to film and produce technical demo content, broadcast key messages and engage with viewers on social platforms. The brand also conducted virtual customer meetings from inside the space as well, what the team calls “front-row experience” meetings, where technical demos take place at the start—all led by Intel employees.

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Just outside Canaletto Ristorante, Intel activated the Intel Spark installation, a cube structure with LED walls inside and out that displayed immersive, 4K content designed to showcase the “power of the Intel processor.” Intel filmed content from within the cube and also hosted live, nightly entertainment outside of it for passersby, including performances by Häana (@thisishaana) that were live-streamed for viewers all over the world. As the artists performed, the cube’s exterior displayed organic digital art created in real-time via an app powered by an Intel-based laptop.

At its second footprint, within Mandalay Bay, Intel hosted its live-streamed news conference, which promoted key messages from its Mobileye brand, the announcement of its 12th Gen Intel Core H-series processors, and innovations surrounding graphics and autonomous driving. (Pre-variant plans called for news conferences at 50-percent capacity, with socially distanced seating.)


Häana, an artist whose work merges music, technology and art, serenaded passersby of the Intel Spark installation at the Grand Canal Shoppes in The Venetian as the LED façade behind her responded to the sounds.

“We didn’t cancel or pivot. It was truly hybrid,” says Victor Torregroza, events and experiences program manager at Intel Corporation. “We showed up in Vegas boldly and safely, and shared it out. And if you wanted to dig in, we had experts online ready to engage with you.”

Intel’s digital infrastructure included a CES landing site, digital newsroom, and a digital platform that featured a customer listening lounge, live roundtables, demos, trivia, and livestreams. This structure, which was already in place pre-surge, allowed the team to easily transition its key press announcements and engagements to digital.

As for operations, Intel and its medical partner Inhouse Physicians established two “bubbles” for staff on-site across the two venues. Teams within each bubble had daily tests and health screenings.

“The team delivered the news conference, executive sessions, technical demo content, and experiences, as planned,” Torregroza says.  “We conducted business, our news conference, technical demos and we were still able to bring joyous moments to audiences around the world.” Agencies: Tencue/Opus (news conference); Intrepid Creative (Spark at Grand Canal Shoppes); The Taylor Group (Spark at Grand Canal Shoppes); Notified (virtual customer experience lounge platform).

Rachel Boucher
Posted by Rachel Boucher

Rachel joined Event Marketer in 2012 and today serves as the brand's head of content. Her travels covering the experiential marketing indust ry have ranged from CES in Las Vegas to Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Florida (hey, it's never too late)—and everywhere in between.
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