by | |

Case Study: 94Fifty – International CES 2014 in Review

Summary: The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball was regarded as one of the most innovative products at the International CES 2014.  Leading into the show, we carried the momentum from the press generated at launch into the show – creating buzz for InfoMotion at CES.  Media enjoyed the opportunity to see the 94Fifty up close and the chance to actually improve their basketball skills!

The PR objectives for CES were to position the 94Fifty as the best new product at CES and manage media coverage pre-, on-site and post-show. Throughout the show journalists and attendees noted they had seen the coverage of 94Fifty leading up to the show and were excited to get their hands on the ball. During the show we met with more than 150 media resulting in more than 120 stories including in top-tier media such as USA Today, two placements on Yahoo!, Fast Company, Market Watch, ABC News, Wall Street Journal, Venture Beat, Los Angeles Times, and more.

The campaign has generated more than 316 million media impressions to date.

Key Message Playback: The majority of coverage has been positive, with many reporters praising the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball as an innovative product out of CES and its usefulness as a training tool.

Key quotes include:

Enter the 94Fifty basketball, which is fitted with sensors to teach you more about your shooting. All information is shared via an accompanying iPhone app, but to turn the ball on? You just start dribbling. – Fast Company

This smart basketball with 9 sensors will train you to shoot like Kobe Bryant. – Venture Beat

Some of the most dramatic innovations in fitness tracking aren’t even worn on your body. The 94Fifty … combine data to track arc, spin, and force when you shoot and dribble. – Yahoo!

The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball is described as ‘the world’s smartest basketball.’ It’s designed to be a digital coach to help you get better at shooting and handling the ball. – KABC-TV (Los Angeles)

You’re having a lot of fun, but are you improving your basketball skills? Thanks to a new connected basketball, now you can see where you dominate — and where you need to improve. –  Sports Illustrated Kids

Startup 94Fifty’s $300 Bluetooth-connected basketball bounced onto the scene earlier this year for iOS devices. – USA Today

The smart basketball measures players’ skills, telling them the angle of their shots or the force of their dribble, among other stats. – ABC News

Key Learnings/Observations:

  • Securing coverage pre-show helped generate buzz and word of mouth for the 94Fifty and generated positive media interest
  • Many media were reluctant to schedule 1:1 interview times at the show due to the large size and the various convention halls, being flexible on-site was helpful in maintaining a full schedule of media interviews
  • Participating in pre-show media only events including PepCom with TI and Bluetooth SIG event helped media scope out the product prior to being on the show floor
  • On-going communication with CES & CEA PR staff prior to the show, as well as meeting with them on-site on Monday helped increase exposure

Completed Tactics:

  • Developed and distributed a CES press release and updated the fact sheet, featured the press materials in an online press kit with Business Wire, the site LaunchIt, and placed fact sheet in South Hall media room
  • Pitched media ahead of CES to secure one-on-one booth interviews and stop-bys
  • Managed media on the show floor and on-site media interview schedule

Ongoing Tactics/Next Steps: Actively following-up with short-lead media to secure review and feature coverage.

Hypotheses: Launching the product at the beginning of holiday season allowed us to have product features that stood out from the busy holiday gift guides and CES coverage. While some media only wanted to focus on products never seen before at the show, many were excited to test it out once they understood what it was, ultimately resulting in continued coverage for the 94Fifty and post-holiday excitement.