Are Controversial Ads Worth It?

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The battle for attention in the advertising world is intense. Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate themselves from the competition. What is a company to do when the good ideas are either: taken, over-used, or cliché. How do they breakthrough, without breaking?

The growing trend to enter the consumer’s mind is to use controversy to excite, whether it means using humor or anger to grab attention. Controversial campaigns are high risk, high reward, so caution should be used when employing such tactics.

The recent viral advertisement campaign by Kmart, dubbed the #shipmypants ad, uses word play to promote Kmart’s shipping service. The responses have been between calling this ad, a smart, hilarious campaign, to sophomoric and cheap. Regardless, the numbers don’t lie, people are talking. Whether it’s good or bad, is still up for discussion.

Do you believe that any press is good press?

If you intend to use controversy to jumpstart a campaign here are some questions for you to answer. Since controversy evokes strong emotions:

1.Are you being controversial just to be controversial, or does it have a specific link to your brands purpose?
2.Does the dialog relate to your brand message and positioning, or is just a quick hit to highlight something new?
3. Have you prepared for the backlash and unexpected consequences?

When controversial marketing campaigns work, they usually have a high initial response rate but die off as quickly as they rise. So to sum this all up, are controversial ads worth it? In the short run, maybe, in the long run, no, unless you have a plan to continue the conversation. And if you’re going to go this route, do it sparingly as you cannot reliably gauge the response.

At the end of the day, if you are having trouble breaking through the white noise, what will you do? Play it safe or go for it?

Translate Any Text Using Your Phone’s Camera

camdictionary-476551-1319696805We’ve all been stuck at least once in our life in a totally unfamiliar language environment. At these times, even our smartest-smart phones are rendered useless, unable to type the word we needed to translate because we did not have the local language characters on our keyboard, leaving us feeling lost. Since we love to share useful apps, we found CamDictionary by IntSig Information Co.,Ltd, a snap translator on the go, and an indispensable travel tool. Believe it or not, your phone’s camera can translate. In few words, CamDictionary is a professional instant translator application for Android and iOS devises. It supports 36 languages that the app can translate on the fly instantly. All you need to do is snap a picture of the text you want to translate and the app will do the rest in real time and you even have the option to hear the pronunciation. Isn’t that magical?

What Sparks Our Fire: an ingenious app that makes our life easy by enabling us to quickly and easily translate languages.

Are you ready to never get lost in translation with CamDictionary? Let us know your thoughts on this app.

Get Ready To Gift Unique Items This Season

It’s that time of year again, it’s that special season when you realize you’ve been so focused working late every night to avoid having to schedule conference calls over the holidays, that you’ve forgotten to purchase gifts for at least a third of your significant others extended family. Don’t worry, we’ve come up with a list of five great gifts ideas, that your loved ones never knew they wanted.

1. Shoe Shine Boy

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 4.52.13 PMShoe Shine Boy is perfect to make shoes and bags shine like never before. This small gadget set has all the goodies one needs for a thorough gleam on calfskin pieces to extend their life. All you need to do is insert two AA batteries into your device, attach the microfiber pad, apply shoe polish to the pad and turn on polisher. Shoe Shine Boy works at 420 rotations per minute and can be used on a wide range of leather products including car seats, shoes and leather bags. If new, the batteries can last up to 70 uses. Think it might be the perfect gift for someone you know? Don’t hesitate to purchase it here. 

What Sparks Our Fire: A gadget that can keep our leather goods looking good with  minimum fuss.

2. Lensbaby

Lensbaby-Sweet-Spot-LensLensbaby is a mobile lens more fun than a barrel of filters. Thin enough that it won’t interfere with most cases or other lens attachments. With the lensbaby, you get an effect that’s very similar to the one you get when zooming a lens while shooting, with a depth-of-field blur. A gadget highly recommended for people looking to enliven their camera photography but still merit a #nofilter. So if you want to gift someone who is really into photography, we recommend getting your hands on this. Where to buy? Simply click here.

What Sparks Our Fire: A gadget that can make us have professional camera effect with just our mobile phone.

3. Fujifilm’s Intax Printer

image128Another gadget for photography lovers. With apps like Instagram and its many filters, quite often, one wish to have its pictures printed. With this Fujifilm’s Instax Printer, anyone can have their phone pictures printed like a Polaroid. Now, that’s cool, right. What is fun about this is that there is no need for a separate supply of ink so you don’t have to worry about running out of ink and don’t have to load cartridges. The gadget actually uses the same cartridges as Fujifilm Instax instant cameras. The camera simply uses LEDs lights along with a liquid crystal shutter to expose the film inside the printer. It is fun and you can watch the image develop over the next several minutes. Fancy this? Get it here.

What Sparks Our Fire:  A portable photo printer, because in 2015 millennials will appreciate pictures in print more than the ones on their instagram feed (maybe).

4. Hoodie pillow

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 5.00.14 PMAnd yes this exists. Simple as the tittle, it’s a hood with a pillow. This hooded pillowcase can provide ultimate “ Cocoonification™”, helping you tuck away the stresses of your day. Useful for long flights trip or simply for curling up with a good book, dozing on the couch, watching TV. This is the perfect accessory to enhance your lounging experience. The HoodiePillow Hooded Pillowcase fits all standard bed pillows and measures. There is alsoi the C shape version. Sometimes, pictures speak louder than words. Get one here and why not for yourself as well.

 What Sparks Our Fire: a gadget that every holiday season traveler wants, but is too embarassed to purchase for themselves.

5. Slimger

1048029_1526493884264679_3972367664762119302_oWe all suffer from short life batteries whether we have an iPhone or an Android. For some reasons phone makers have not tackled the issue yet. So, in the meantime while they get it all together, we have this suggestion that could be the gift of the year. It is called Slimger: a charger so thin and small it can fit in your wallet. This is the result of a project on indiegogo that received more than six time its initial pledge of $10,000. Thank you to all backers, we can now all benefit from the magic. If you need to purchase a devise. Here is the link

What Sparks our Fire: a useful devise that is easy to carry around and a life/phone save

We hope you found this list useful. What did you pick? Let us know.

You’re One App Away From A Comfortable Retirement

acorns appTo build wealth, and become financially independent, you need to start investing early and there is an app for that. Acorns enables you to start saving early, invest often, and feel secure about your financial future without having to think about it.

So, how does it work? Simply connect a credit card, or debit card and a checking account, and enter some characteristics about yourself. Acorns will automatically recommend a stock portfolio based on information like your age, time horizon, investment goals and the amount of risk you’re comfortable taking. Then each purchase you make with the registered card is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the difference is invested in low-cost ETFs. For instance, if you spend $10.49 on lunch, that remaining 51 cents is invested. And if you’re worried about the safety of your personal information, don’t be, because Acorns has been awarded TRUSTe’s Privacy Seal for the collection and use of personal information. According to its maker, “what makes Acorns different from any service out there is that it offers a personalized investment portfolio with no account minimums, no commissions, and fractional investing all at your fingertips”.

What Sparks Our Fire: An app that intuitively makes it easy to save and invest.

What do you think of Acorns? Would you use it?

Coffee As Unique As Your Handprint

Memory-by-Wenyao-Cai-Electrolux-Design-Lab-2012-finalistA small but important part of many people’s lives is the intimacy of having a barista who remembers who you are and more importantly how you have your coffee. Memory is a coffee maker that uses hand print recognition to act as your personal barista and make the right cup of coffee for the right person. Set it to your preference of weak, medium or strong coffee or even an espresso to a ristretto. When you’re ready for your perfect cup of coffee, Memory will scan your hand and get it right every time. The machine was designed by WenYao Cai from China, an Electrolux Design Lab 2012 finalist.

No matter how hard we wished it wasn’t, Memory is still in the concept phase and isn’t ready to be on the market just yet.

What Sparks Our Fire: An innovative gadget that allows you to get your perfect cup of coffee with a simple scan of the hand.

Do you wish Memory was out on the market? Let us know your thoughts.