If The Chuck Fits…

chuck II

Converse is redesigning its hugely popular Chuck Taylor All-Star shoe for the first time in almost 100 years. First introduced in 1917, the canvas shoe quickly became iconic symbol of polished-yet-casual streetwear, and Fast Company has dubbed it “the Coca-Cola of shoes,” with its sales making up a majority of the $1.7 billion annual revenue. However, with this title, a primary concern about its makeover was its potential to become the “New Coke” of shoes, a nod to the much-hated formula Coca-Cola tried to adopt in attempt at rebranding back in the ’80s.

However, Converse has shown its masterful knowledge of fashion revival by unveiling the “Chuck II,” a subtle remake of the shoe. Although at first glance it looks identical to the old design, the details are what distinguish the newer model from its predecessor.


The new Lunarlon insoles for added comfort

The canvas shell is made of a better quality material, the stitching is nicer, and the eyelets have been reimagined. While sales of the classic shoe have increased ten-fold since 2003, when it was saved from bankruptcy by its acquisition by Nike, a new design after almost a decade is a bold move.

What Sparks Our Fire: A beloved classic shoe gets a redesign, but stays true to its iconic brand

Louis Braille, Meet the 21st Century


The creators of the Blitab, a new “haptic tablet,” are bringing new meaning to the word “touchscreen.” Designed to be a Kindle for the visually impaired, their device allows users to actually feel their electronic devices.

The device works like an e-reader with a few major changes. Instead of using an LCD display that users can read off of, the “haptic tablet” uses “smart liquid” that forms bubbles on the surface. Blind and visually impaired users can than read the bubbles as Braille letters. “We call the materials ‘tixels’ from ‘tactile pixels’ because we do not use any mechanical elements to trigger the dots,” says Bitlab’s founder, Kristina Tsvetanova. The software converts text from webpages and USB drives.

Tsvetanova has a working prototype and is still looking to get seed-funding to bring her product to market. And while similar products already exist with astronomical price tags of over $15,000, Tsvetanova’s goal is to make the “haptic tablet” more affordable, so that more people can use it.

What Sparks Our Fire: Creative design improving internet accessibility for the blind and visually impaired in the tablet-era.

Use Solar Power Anywhere


With a majority of Americans and people worldwide that consider solar power to be their number one choice of energy, SunPort is introducing a new way to use solar energy, with their new innovative and affordable outlet adapter. This portable outlet adapter allows users to power all of their gadgets on clean solar energy. Once plugging in a device into the SunPort, the application will automatically calculate how much power you’re using and quickly give you the option to upgrade to solar energy. Once upgrading, it will automatically purchase solar micro-credits that are provided through a non-profit organization called ReChoice. It’s a more affordable and less cumbersome option than those industrial-sized solar panels.

3048930-inline-i-0-this-plug-automatically-runs-your-gadgets-on-solar-powerDue to cost being an issue when purchasing solar panels, the inventor of SunPort, Paul Droege, believes they will eventually offer their customers a chance to upgrade their entire home at an affordable and reasonable cost. This will allow those with high interest to use clean solar energy and help create a demand for more solar production.

The use of solar energy has increased tremendously throughout the years and will continue to grow. Nivea Sun ads, which generated a great deal of praise and attention worldwide, used a similar approach.

What Sparks Our Fire: Making solar power more affordable, more portable, and more accessible to change the way we use energy.


Free McFlurries Beat the Heat


Earlier this year companies took advertising to another level advertisements that dispensed beverages to promote their brand. Using “Dispensing Billboards” Like Coca-Cola and Carlsberg, McDonald’s in the Netherlands took a similar approach and found a way to beat the heat. They created a heat-sensitive billboard that dished out 100 free McFlurry cups to pedestrians walking the city streets.


When temperatures reached extreme levels, the billboard would open up and allow pedestrians to take an empty cup, which they could take to the nearest McDonald’s and get their free McFlurry. Who wouldn’t love to cool down with a treat like this on these hot summer days?

Unfortunately, in order for the panels to open, the thermometer connected must reach a set temperature of 101.48°F, so you might not want to wait around for it.

What Sparks Our Fire: Companies using interactive advertising to cater to their customers and the environment


The World’s First “Smart” Ad


M&C Saatchi is experimenting with a new artificially intelligent advertisement for coffee brand Bahio, which uses a “Darwinian” algorithm to test different aspects of the ad like copy, layout, format, and image. The ad, monitored by a camera embedded in the poster, adjusts to the viewer’s reaction. Layouts that fail to engage are rearranged, and ads that viewers respond well to are reused and modified.

Chief Innovation Officer of M&C Saatchi David Cox says that although this software is experimental, “automated creativity” is quickly becoming the norm. The point of the exercise is to test the computer’s strength in determining the strongest creative execution, and to create layouts that may not have been conceptualized by the team.

If interactive ads become fully integrated in digital advertising, they could have huge implications in helping optimize viewer content and interaction.

What Sparks Our Fire: Brands coming up with innovative and tech-savvy ways to advertise to and engage with consumers.