Motorola Has Resuscitated Print

Who says print has to be dead? At least for this one ad for the Moto X, print is alive and interactive.

With the help of paper-thin electronics, about a quarter of the readers of Wired in the San Francisco and New York City areas will be able to see the Moto X change colors within their magazine. This video announcement comes on the heels of the sale of 500,000 Moto X smartphones in the third quarter, which is about 5% of the sales that Samsung reported for their S4 handset in the first month after its’ release. Google clearly hopes this ad will drum up interest and support for their competing phone and increase sales for the coming quarter.

In any case, it’s an interesting ad with an interactive aspect and an creative innovation in a medium that hasn’t lately seen much.

What Sparks Our Fire: Innovation in what many see as a “dead” medium.

Would you buy this magazine for the purpose of experiencing this ad?

This Article Changed My Life

Let’s talk about clickbait.


In the past few years, a certain type of internet journalism has become more and more prevalent in certain Generation Y circles. There are numerous sub-genres of this trend, but they all fall under a category that for simplicity’s sake I’ll refer to as “Clickbait Articles”. With titles like “22 Reasons Why Having A Quiet New Year’s Eve Is Secretly The Best“, “America Could End Homelessness in One Year by Doing This“, and “23 Food Things Only Chinese-American Kids Would Understand“, these articles reflect the changing nature of internet writing and the way we share information.

The reason this kind of article is written is for the most part, internet authors are paid for the amount of visits their article page receives. This means these articles need eye-catching, attention-grabbing titles and shareable content, to grab and multiply visits, or clicks. This ties into the concept of the internet as an information niche market. People want information customized to them, to their interests and likes, and will click on  and share pages they believe suit them and their internet persona. However, since there are so many person-specific niches, these articles tend to be broad in appeal and have minimal content, often to the point of lists: the author makes a point in a sentence or two, adds an accompanying picture or GIF, and moves on. As such, these articles are often short, light on content, and are in essence disposable. alone sees a turnover of dozens of articles a day.


This kind of directed content sharing springs from multiple motivations and thought processes, but there are three main thought processes that stand out: “This is so relatable/worth sharing”, “This is something the world needs to know about”, and “This describes my niche demographic”. This is obviously a simplification, but in essence these are the three motivations that tend to stand out.

Articles that are relatable tend to have subject matter regarding large demographics the author has ascribed certain common experiences to. For instance, articles relating to the experience of being a 20-something woman in NYC are common, as well as others listing reasons why Jennifer Lawrence is a wonderful person. These articles will often be shared with comments along the vein of “So true” or “Too real”, which in turn lead followers and friends to click on the link to see if they too relate. The problem with these articles is they tend to lack any real content, and are akin to horoscope predictions or zodiac signs, which seem to be very specific to you, but in fact are broad statements that almost anyone can apply to themselves.


The second type of shared link are those that take up some sort of cause or social issue. This type of article isn’t new, but rather the positioning of the internet cause article is very removed from pre-internet articles, especially in the way they are titled. These post authors have perfected the art of writing a title that gives away next to nothing about their content, but demands viewer attention. Examples include, “A Fashion Designer Uses Her Mannequins To Send A Message That Hurts” or “A Gut-Punching Ad Shows 2 Perspectives On Your Last Years. Which Describes Where You’re Headed?“. These titles give the user a reason to click, and once they absorb the content, they share it. While effective, a critique of these methods might show that this positioning may lead to an alarmist tendency, as well as misleading content. One of the articles mentioned above claims to have found the cure to homelessness if only America would listen. However, it is simply an article on how houses can be built from plastic bottles, and doesn’t show how those houses will be built, who will build them, or how this solves a homeless problem on any spectrum except that of “more houses”.

The third type of article targets a niche demographic with content related specifically to the experience of that demographic. For instance, I am an American of Chinese decent, and I grew up in suburban New York. Therefore, the above article about experiences Chinese-American kids share involving food was immediately applicable to me, and I shared the article with the rest of my friends and family who also had those experiences, and the article resonated with all of them. The drawback of this sort of article is it can marginalize the members of the audience who don’t belong to that niche. For instance, no one outside of my demographic understands the rite of passage that is learning how to use chopsticks, or that my Grandmothers’ jook is better than anyone else’s and I will defend that statement to death. These are exclusive articles that can only be written by those who have directly experienced the subject matter, and as such cannot be applicable to large audiences.

In essence, this type of article is one of the most popular formats of current internet content, and it’s not going anywhere for now. Like all forms of journalism, this format has its drawbacks, but also appeals to a great number of internet users, and it will be interesting to watch Clickbait Articles and how they evolve in the future.

What Sparks Our Fire: Emerging forms of journalism exclusive to the internet are extraordinarily interesting, especially to those of us in advertising, where it is our job to watch trends.

Do you enjoy these types of articles?

I See


Well, not literally. But you can’t tell from looking.

We’ve talked several times before about 3D printing, but never quite like this. These 3D printed prosthetic eyes are not only extraordinarily detailed, but also matched as close as possible to the other eye. While we tend to simplify eye color, there are actually hundreds of possible shades of brown, green, blue, etc. These prosthesis examples are about as similar to a real eye someone can get, without having a real eye.

Previously, patients would have to settle for other, less perfect stand-ins, such as glass and acrylics. These other materials were good, but not particularly well matched or fitted. A precision 3D-printed model, created from scans of the patients actual eye, is as close to perfection as we’ve come thus far.


What Sparks Our Fire:  The expansion of new technology into medically useful applications, improving the lives of people who are otherwise disabled.

Could you tell the first picture was of a fake eye?

Air Artistry

If you want to draw on the air, first of all, you still have that child-like sense of wonder and imagination and we’re jealous. Second, you can do it now, so you win.


Think of it as a handheld 3D printer. The 3Doodler uses the same ABS plastic you’d find in a normal professional 3D printer, and puts it into a handheld device. It takes very little skill to use and all you need to do is plug it in and go. As you draw with it, the implement extrudes heated plastic, which almost immediately cools, creating a hardened structure. Not only can you draw freehand in midair, you can also use stencils to trace out patterns and peel them off to create flat pieces, which can either be standalone or used together to create 3D sculptures.


One of the most popular gadgets of the year, the Kickstarter campaign has raised $2,344,134 of their original $30,000 goal, so they’re doing pretty well. For a pledge of $75, you can receive a doodler in February of 2014, along with supplies. Based on the reaction this above GIF got in the office, we at Canopy loved it and will be buying, like, six of them.


What Sparks Our Fire: Creativity is no longer two-dimensional!

Would you buy this midair doodler?

Queen Bey

On Friday, Beyonce broke the internet. Seriously, iTunes shut down due to too much traffic. Every single social news outlet was flooded with posts, tweets, statuses, and articles that all proclaimed “Beyonce released an unannounced album at midnight that is not only a collection of music but also includes 17 videos and a song featuring Blue Ivy!!” There are seven posts about it on the front page of Buzzfeed alone, and they all seem to be the authors having seizures about how awesome Beyonce is.


However, right now we’re not going to discuss the music, or the concept of a “visual album” or how Beyonce’s hair is “OMG SO PERF. I JUST WANT TO BE HER. UGH.” as 23,000 twitter users have posted in the last twelve hours. No, we’re going to discuss the ramifications of how a product can become a resounding success with literally no lead-up or advertising.

In this instance, we are referring to Beyonce as a brand, in addition to an individual. With a single post on Facebook, this brand flexed social media muscles that most can only dream of. They don’t need to dedicate any money to advertising this album because the rest of the world is doing it for her. Without any critical review or coming attractions, the album has been labeled as “good” and “worth sharing” by default. This is because, as a brand, Beyonce has released quality, popular bodies of work. As well, Beyonce has cultivated a likeable, personable offstage personality, accentuated by her marriage to rap star Jay-Z and birth of her daughter Blue Ivy. In addition, she has remained in the public eye over the last decade, from her time in Destiny’s Child, to her solo career, up until her recent “photobomb”.


Incidentally, not a photobomb, rather a request, but you get the point. Beyonce is well-liked, highly followable, and is a strong thought leader, which allows her the social clout and discussability to create a media storm without the need for advertising or singles or anything else that goes along with normal music releases. This is power on an extraordinary level, and we who advertise are extraordinarily jealous.

What Sparks Our Fire: The biggest positive media firestorm in recent history, caused by a quality brand suddenly releasing what is sure to be a critically acclaimed revolutionary product. It’s what we like to see in brand management.

Why do you think Beyonce has this sort of power?