20 Something Blogger Summit Details Announced!



We’re so excited to announce details for the inaugural 20SB Summit presented by Lenovo happening this August 19 – 21 in Chicago! We’ve been working hard to produce a conference with great speakers from the 20SB community and around the blogosphere and with an agenda that truly reflects what twenty something bloggers care about most. There are two programming tracks: Application and Aspiration, “how to” and “how cool” sessions centered around taking blogging, vlogging and community building to the next level, personally and professionally. Scott Belsky, founder and CEO of Behance and the 99% Conference, and Jenny Blake, author of Life After College, will be keynoting.

This is the premier blogging summit for twenty something bloggers. It provides a unique setting for them to engage with their peers and role models as well as an unparalleled opportunity for brands to have all these outspoken and influential millennials in one place. More updates to come via 20SBsummit.com, and you can follow the conversation around the summit using the #20sbsummit on Twitter.

Special thanks to our presenting sponsor Lenovo for their generous support of the 20 Something Blogger community.

Be there for the beginning of something big.

Tickets are available now on Eventbrite!


A2G’s Nintendo E3 Coverage

A Squared Group had the privilege of attending E3 and the Nintendo Media Presentation this year as guests of Nintendo. The announcements were full of surprises as well as the remodeling of old favorites.

Our highlights of the presentation included first and foremost (of course!) the announcement of a new console, the Wii U, due for release sometime between April and December 2012.

(Photo Credit: International Business Times)

(Photo Credit: International Business Times)

The Wii U was created to bridge the current gap in gaming between “core” gamers, who are seeking a more challenging video game experience, and casual gamers, who typically prefer ‘pick up and play’ games with a social experience.  The Wii U is the first of Nintendo’s gaming consoles which will offer HD visuals, and has already seemed to garner the support of various third party game developers.

The Wii U has a tablet-like controller that is poised to change the way we play video games. A player can move seamlessly from playing a game via TV, to gameplay ON the controller, which will feature both a touchscreen and traditional controls including  a d-pad, shoulder buttons, and triggers. The system will also be backwards compatible with other Nintendo hardware and software.

The video demos shown for the Wii U included a high definition experience that followed the trajectory of a bird over a pond in a Japanese garden, featuring beautiful details of the bird in flight, cherry trees blossoming and Koi jumping in the pond.

Another experience for the Wii U which we had opportunity to enjoy was called “Chase Mii.”  This allows up to five players to participate in a chasing game.  Four players and their Miis dressed as toads use Wii remotes to navigate a maze-like environment.  The fifth player, a Mii dressed as Mario, uses the new controller to run away from the pursuers. Besides getting a 15-second start on the other players, this player gets a unique perspective from above the maze which allows them to see where all the other players are at any time.

Other possibilities for the Wii U hinted at during the presentation were: using the controller to ‘catch’ a baseball flying in from the sky, viewing a golf ball lodged in a sandbank, and hitting it clear with the controller, with flying sand imagery appearing on the TV screen.

As The Legend of Zelda is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, there were a few treats for Zelda fans.  The media presentation included a complete orchestra and choir which performed arrangements of classic Zelda music, along with game imagery throughout the franchise’s evolution.  The creative genius behind many of Nintendo’s beloved franchises, Shigeru Miyamoto was onstage talking about what Nintendo had in store this year to celebrate this momentous occasion.    Miyamoto disclosed that orchestras around the world would be performing special Zelda symphonies in a celebration of the anniversary for fans.  In addition, a limited edition gold Wii remote will be available later this year, and Zelda games will be released for all current Nintendo gaming systems, including: Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 3DS, due for release this month, Zelda: Skyward Sword for Wii and a free multiplayer DS game: Zelda: Four Swords which will be available for download later this year.

Super Mario, Mario Kart, Kid Icarus, StarFox 64 and Luigi’s Mansion, all in 3D for Nintendo 3DS, were among the new software announced during the media briefing, stirring excitement in the audience.  A Montage of third-party titles coming up included: Driver: Renegade, Resident Evil: Revelations, Tekken 3D and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.

Putting the TEA in Teamwork!

There was no reason not to do this.  Our new clients were coming to see us in LA on a gorgeous Thursday afternoon. With the 70-degree weather, why place everyone indoors?

An outdoor tea party in the courtyard was in order.

Very quickly, our team pulled together all the elements for a beautiful, vibrant “meeting” table…

When the clients arrived and learned of our plans,  there were smiles all around. Success!

Under the market umbrellas, our party enjoyed an assorted tea selection, mini tea sandwiches, petit four dessert bites, and colorful berries.

The whimsical idea and effort paid off. The meeting went off without a hitch and everyone walked away excited for what’s to come.

Stay tuned for our next pop-up conference room venture…

Happy weekend,

The A2G Team


A2G’s Amy Cotteleer Weighs In on Consumer Engagement in USA Today

Savvy Marketers Let Consumers Call the Shots

By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

Updated: 03/24/2011 1:10am

When Baskin-Robbins launches its newest ice cream flavor in June, it won’t be one that was whipped up in the ice cream icon’s supersecret test kitchen.

This one was concocted by a 62-year-old grandmother of four. And she did it online.

“When I wake up on June 1st,” says Diane Sroga, the Chicago resident and professional numbers cruncher who created the flavor, “I’ll probably stop at Baskin-Robbins before I go to work — just to make sure it’s real.”

Once she sees it on sale, she says, she’ll know it’s not some dream. Sroga is one of more than 40,000 consumers who competed in an online contest to create the chain’s next flavor — and her Bunches of Crunches concoction (since renamed Toffee Pecan Crunch) won out. She is part of a new breed of consumer who has combined talent, digital media and moxie to move from the sidelines to the playing field of product creation.

In a world where consumers demand to call the shots, savvy marketers increasingly are finding ways to let them do just that — even in the creation of products. Mountain Dew was among the first to let consumers become fully involved in its product creations, even letting them help design new bottles and cans. More recently, Lands’ End let two kids — ages 9 and 11 — design T-shirts that it sold online.

It’s one thing to let consumers create brand commercials — as Doritos and Pepsi have done in recent Super Bowls — but it’s something else entirely to ask folks to concoct a product that could conceivably be their Next Big Thing. One thing’s for sure: Companies aren’t doing it just to be nice.

They’re doing it to keep consumers engaged with the brand. They’re doing it in response to social-media-wise consumers who demand to have a direct say in the products that companies make. And they’re doing it because a growing number of brands recognize that some of the best ideas come from outside, not in.

“It’s a provocative idea to let the consumer have the keys to the castle,” says Amy Cotteleer, president of A Squared Group, which specializes in [experiential] marketing. “But people are demanding that they have unfettered access to the brands and products they use.”

By letting real consumers play a hands-on role in creating products, the big brands are giving their best customers plenty to chirp — well, tweet — about. Beyond that, Cotteleer says, as each company looks for what’s “next,” there’s increasing realization that — unless you’re Apple — the answer might not be within the company’s own doors.

Which is precisely what Sroga did. She remembers receiving an e-mail — out of the blue — about the contest. She received it because she had previously registered her grandchildren to receive free Baskin-Robbin ice cream cones on their birthdays.

“I’d never entered a contest of any type,” she says.

But this one interested her because she’s an ice cream junkie and every summer makes homemade ice cream with peaches she picks from the tree in her backyard.

So, during one lunch hour at work, she concocted a recipe online using the ingredients she loves most: chocolate, nuts and caramel. What she ultimately created, she says, “sounded more like a chocolate candy turtle.”

Shortly after submitting the entry, she forgot about it. But about a month later, she received an e-mail from Baskin-Robbins informing her she was among the 10 finalists — one of which was to be selected by consumers through an online vote. A month later, she received a phone call at home that she’d won the whole shebang. The company brought her and her husband to its Boston headquarters and filmed her mixing a batch of her creation. It also gave her hundreds of dollars in free ice cream certificates.

“I’m still surprised by it,” she says. But Sroga says she knows exactly what Baskin-Robbins is up to. “It really is possible for an everyday person to come up with something that a company might be looking for.”

Read rest of the article here.

Copyright 2011 USA TODAY


Nintendo 3DS: First Look!

A Squared Group was in New York City last week to celebrate an advance look at the Nintendo 3DS – an innovation in handheld entertainment that delivers 3D without the glasses.


We were joined by some of our most influential Brand About Town Brand Ambassadors for a full day and a half of Nintendo fun. The group kicked off the trip with dinner at Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental.  The following day we the lunched in Chelsea at Co., stopped by the Nintendo World Store for a shopping spree, and then got ready for the big event with hair and make-up appointments.

Environment Shot

The Nintendo 3DS party was hosted at Skylight Studio.  There, our Brand Ambassadors were blown away by the featured games and applications. They participated in demos of upcoming Nintendo 3DS games and enjoyed the party atmosphere.  Brand Ambassadors tweeted the night away as they sampled — and were amazed — by the Nintendo 3DS experience.

Gwen Bell