The Unbreakable Smartphone


Despite the rapid progress made to smartphones in the past few years, these devices are still some of the most fragile pieces of technology we own. Small amounts of water and one tiny slip out of the hand can wreck them permanently. But wouldn’t these smart devices be even smarter if we could use them in almost any situation? With the invention of the Cicret wristband, we might just be one step closer.

Cicret, designed by a group of French entrepreneurs, is a smart wristband created to allow smartphone users more convenience. In it’s first prototype form, Cicret works by projecting a screen onto your arm, and using sensors to detect where you are tapping. The designers also aim to incorporate a waterproof design before the product goes to market. This means that it might be a lot more convenient to text in the bathtub or check the weather without fishing through your purse, in the future.

The Cicret team is still looking for investors, but aims to have the product ready for market by early 2016. Their ambitious concept video has virally spread across the internet, and even prompted questions of it’s viability from some tech bloggers. After releasing a video showing the prototype’s capabilities, many have started to believe that this technology is possible.

Take a look for yourself and learn more on the Cicret website.

What Sparks Our Fire: Wildly ambitious technology that makes life more convenient

Chevy <3’s Millennials


Visual mediums have taken a larger role in consumers’ lives and has started to trickle into brand storytelling and communication. We’ve written about the latest trend of brands creating their own emoji keyboards, and now Chevrolet has gone one step further and released a press release for the 2016 Cruze, written entirely in emoji. Released this morning, Chevy will give consumers a chance to decipher the statement written in modern glyphs before releasing the translated version this afternoon.

Chevy, not traditionally known for their ground breaking marketing initiatives, is taking a big step in the right direction. No other company has released a formal press release written almost entirely in emoji, though Domino’s did write hundreds of Tweets using just a pizza emoji a few weeks back. By embracing the “emoji” trend and adding an element of social media driven gamification to the sometimes stale press release ritual, Chevy is taking great strides in effectively engaging with the target millennial audience.

Take a look at the full press release, and see if you can piece together the full story.


What Sparks Our Fire: A unique integrated campaign targeted at millennials.

Festivus Comes Early This Year


This week, as an early Festivus present, thousands of people will cross one more thing off of their Dream-things-to-do-in-New-York bucket list, by stopping by their old pal Jerry Seinfeld’s place. His fictional apartment, that is. A re-creation of the famous Upper West Side apartment will pop-up thanks to Hulu on 14th street near Chelsea Market on Wednesday, and will be open through Sunday. This fan-driven activation will celebrate the introduction of ‘Seinfeld’ to the Hulu catalog.

Similar activations have been created to celebrate ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘Friends’. The ‘Central Perk’ pop-up cafe was co-sponsored by Eight O’Clock Coffee and Warner Brothers, and gave both brands a valuable way to connect fans with one of the most popular shows in television history. Both of these activations were incredibly popular and generated long lines just to get close to the action.

Activations like these allow fans to engage with their favorite shows in an exciting way– they can actually place themselves into the show they normally see through a television or laptop screen. The promise of a great selfie on Jerry’s couch might just be enough to make the long line worth it.

If you’d like to see if Jerry has a copy of Kramer’s coffee table book about coffee tables on his coffee table, the apartment will be open June 24th through June 28th from 10 AM to 7 PM at 451 West 14th Street.

What Sparks Our Fire: Seinfeld… enough said.

A Missed Opportunity From A Millennial’s Perspective


I am a millennial.

I graduated from New York University in May 2014 with some hefty student loans. And, aside from my savings and checking accounts, these loans have been my entrée into the complicated world of financial institutions. While I won’t name the specific institutions I’ve worked with, I will say that almost every interaction I’ve had has been unpleasant. Calling, waiting on hold for hours, speaking to agents who have no ability to help me, transferring to new agents and explaining issues all over again, and very little email correspondence– I would characterize every step as the antithesis of what millennials expect from a reputable business. If this is our first interaction with a financial institution, is it any wonder why millennials want nothing to do with them?

This morning I came across a great article from TechCrunch, “Millennials Are Destroying Banks, And It’s The Banks’ Fault“, that poses a lot of interesting questions, and even more creative challenges to the financial institutions vying for millennial customers. With an estimated $30 trillion wealth transfer from baby boomers to millennials coming up, banks are realizing that, despite astronomical student loans and a new set of recession-influenced priorities, millennials will not be poor forever. But will they trust the traditional banks that their parents used for their own wealth? That much is unclear.

Why aren’t financial institutions catering to millennials in the same ways that seemingly every other industry is? This article rightly points out that, in most cases, the changes that millennials want are happily accepted amongst members of other generations. Simplicity, transparency, and efficient communication. I’m not the only millennial who has not experienced any of these attributes when dealing with my student loans, and I can’t help but wonder if that’s how the remainder of my financial experiences will be, until financial institutions learn how to engage with millennials.

Offering creative products and services that cater to my generation, as this article advises, is one of the ways that financial institutions can start to win over millennials. Using thoughtful and efficient communications is not a small component to overlook and at Canopy, I’m learning how to find the right way to engage millennials, instead of just talking to them. One thing is clear–the financial institutions that are not offering or marketing their financial products and services to tomorrow’s largest market demographic are missing a huge opportunity.

by: Jacqueline Goldberg, Canopy’s Resident Millennial

A Tree Grows Underneath Manhattan


What can you do with an abandoned underground trolley terminal? In Manhattan, where space is at a premium, there are a billion creative uses for this subterranean expanse. In 2011, James Ramsey, Dan Barasch, and R. Boykin Curry IV proposed a radical idea for the space that sat unused for over 60 years– turn it into an underground park. The idea immediately resonated with New Yorkers, drew massive media attention, and got a wildly successful Kickstarter get off the ground. And this month, Ramsey, Barasch, and Curry have returned with a new Kickstarter to fund a test lab, bringing them once step closer to the reality of their Lowline park.

The test lab for the Lowline mostly aims to test the special technology that engineers have built to bring sunlight underground. Solar panels at street level will act as sunlight receptacles. Sunlight will then be funneled underground where it can be disseminated to the plants living below. Where UV lamps might have been used in the past, the Lowline is revolutionary because it aims for sustainability. Additionally, visitors will be able to go to the test lab this Fall to see the results in action.

Calling their park the Lowline as a nod to Chelsea’s High Line, the creators have acknowledged the huge impact that green public spaces can have on the surrounding community. The High Line was similarly built on abandoned elevated train tracks on the west side of Manhattan, with the first phase opening to visitors in 2009. With almost 5 million annual visitors, the High Line’s presence has revitalized the surrounding community in a way that the Lowline hopes to emulate on the Lower East Side.

Learn more on the Lowline’s website and Kickstarter.

What Sparks Our Fire: Sustainable public spaces spurring cutting edge technological and economic benefits