CES Celebritease

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How do you attract attention at a ridiculously sprawling, hopelessly huge mess like the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show? Consider: The annual Vegas confab will have an estimated 2,700 exhibitors spread over an exhausting 1.8 million net square feet and more than 140,000 attendees.

Well, right, "booth bunnies." But there’s another time-tested tactic: a sprinkling of star dust.

Here are a couple of celebrity – and quasi-celebrity — sightings expected at CES that have filtered into my in-box so far:

  • XstreamHD, a startup proposing to deliver HD movies on demand over satellite links to a proprietary set-top, promises to have actor Michael Douglas "live and in person" to kick off its official launch at the show. ("Now I ain’t cheap, but I can be had." — Douglas playing Jack Colton in 1984’s Romancing the Stone.)
  • Monster Cable expects 5,000 attendees to come hear R&B artist Mary J. Blige perform at what it unblushingly calls "the biggest social event" at CES. That may be true, but only if you eliminate "waiting in taxi lines" as a social event.
  • Panasonic has enlisted 20-year-old Major League Gaming pro Tom Taylor (a.k.a. TSquared) to promote its new home cinema projectors specially optimized for videogames.
  • Symantec will demo its PC security products, with help from Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson, who will, according to the company, "share her story about being approached by a potential cyber-predator when she was 13 years old." Guess that Dateline NBC guy wouldn’t really draw the same traffic.