Cool gadgets at CES ... but wait, there's Snooki, and Justin Bieber and the governor!

With Long Island's own DJ Chef spinning in the background, a large swell grew around iHip's booth at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

But 30 minutes earlier, a few lonely photographers were the only souls left milling about.

Snooki had left the arena.

When Jack Saideh, president of Zeikos and iHip, hired Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi to endorse a line of his headphones, he knew what he was doing.

At least 100 people swarmed the iHip booth just before the "Jersey Shore" reality TV personality arrived Tuesday to tout her line of Snooki-branded, blinged-out headphones.

Getting Snooki to appear in iHip's CES booth wasn't easy. She's busy these days.

"It takes a lot of hard work to get her here. And a lot of money," Saideh said, declining to say exactly how much.

Like her or love her, Snooki is herself a brand -- what she casually called "the Snooki Empire" in describing her business plans.

With endorsements for multiple products -- she has perfume, false eyelashes and tanning lotion on the market -- she's busier than ever with personal appearances. But, Snooki said she'll always make time for Las Vegas.

"I try and come out as much as possible. I mean, I love Vegas and if I weren't to live in Jersey my whole life, it would be Vegas and that's it," she said. "I just like the environment. Everyone's always willing to have fun."

And that's exactly what Saideh wanted her to do -- with his headphones on her head, of course.

"I think a lot of people love her," Saideh said. "For the business, the partnership will be great."

Snooki wasn't involved in the design of the iHip headphones, but said she will be going forward.

"I already have ideas of what I want to do. Everybody knows I love animal print, and very gaudy and tacky, blinged-out stuff," she said.

Now, count how many times iHip was mentioned in this article alone. If anyone tweets this, posts it to Facebook or emails it to a friend, the mentions mount. Multiply that number by the amount of stories written and photographs taken of Snooki with the company's logo in the background, and iHip's investment probably just paid for itself.

It's no wonder then that companies throughout CES hire celebs to push products. Rapper and actor Xzibit was on hand to promote Monster's high-end headphones, while 50 Cent pushed SMS Audio's version of noise-canceling headphones. Justin Beiber was hanging out at the Tosy Robotics booth .

Of course, not all familiar faces at CES are familiar to everyone.

When Samsung contractor Mera West showed up for work Wednesday, she had no idea who was coming her way. At around 2 p.m., West was greeted by suited man, smiling ear-to-ear.

"Hi, I'm Brian, the governor of Nevada," he said, extending his hand.

It didn't immediately register. Then, a flash of recognition.

"It's awesome. It's cool he's here because it shows interaction with the public," said West, who was demonstrating the new Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone/tablet at the time.

Sandoval's visit made history -- the first time a Nevada governor has attended the state's single-largest international trade show, according to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority records.

"We're very proud to have this show," Sandoval said. "(About) 150,000 folks come to Las Vegas for this, it means an impact of close to $160 million for our economy. This is probably the most famous show on the planet, and for us to host it is wonderful."

Sandoval visited booths for Motorola, Samsung and Panasonic and he talked of the need for Nevada to attract more high-tech industry, but he didn't endorse any bling-out leopard-print headphones.

He may be a governor, a former federal judge and a possible candidate for vice president of the United States of America. But he's no Snooki.

Contact reporter Laura Carroll at or 702-380-4588.