Each week, Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team stands at the intersection of people, culture and brands to bring you five stories that you can read in five minutes.

1. Clothing store sans clothes

As part of Fashion Week in London, Lego and Kabooki, the Danish designer and longtime licensed-clothing partner, opened a pop-up shop on Eastcastle Street where the merchandise was only viewable via SnapChat. Why should you care? This is a brilliant combination of “exclusivity” delivered through augmented reality via a platform native to their target audience, Gen Z. The clothes are limited-edition and only visible through a Snapchat lens when walking through the store. That’s right, there are no clothes in the store and all of the purchases happen through Snapchat’s platform. However, with a DJ and arcade booth at the store, people can still have fun and interact with other fans IRL. Ultimately this is everything 2019 consumers, especially Gen Z, want – exclusive campaigns that feel personal and facilitate the digital/analog balance they seek in their everyday lives. [Campaign]

2. Branding in the age of voice

Mastercard has developed a “sonic identity” for their brand which includes a 3-second “mogo” (“musical logo”) and a 30-second melody.  Why should you care? The 3-second melody will be used at the “point-of-sale, both online and in-store” while the 30-second melody will be adaptable for different cultures and used as “background music in ads,  sponsorship, [and] Mastercard’s call centers.” Our minds are kind of blown with this move by Mastercard, but shouldn’t be. This is a logical, natural progression for branding as we enter into a space where sales transition into a world where expect will become voice-first. Someone just had to do it first, so kudos to Mastercard for leading the way. Should other companies follow, branding and creative agencies should expect to both create “sonic identity” standards and work within them just as they have with visual identity standards for years.  [Marketing Week]

3. Twitter’s Turing test

This week, Vice challenged the use of anthromorphizing brands on Twitter through language with “first-person, singular perspective” in tweets. Why should you care? In the last few years, the brands making waves and getting enviable impressions are those nailing the brand persona brought to life via Twitter. Think Wendy’s or KFC. While this marketing trend has required all brands to be more human through their interactions on social media (which is arguably good), to engage in the ironic, sarcastic, shade-throwing, inside-joke laden, fast-paced conversations, the lines of “moral clarity” and appropriateness can be blurred until they are crossed. Vice cites a recent tweet by SunnyD and the response as the quintessential example. While the tweet was commenting on how boring Super Bowl LIII was, other brands interpreted it as an expression of depression and responded with mental health tips. There’s a lot to unpack with this article and trend, but the most straight-forward takeaway for brands is to be clear on why and how they are using human “idosyncracies” to drive conversations on Twitter and have a plan to address topics, like mental health, where the human response may be at odds with marketing objectives. [Vice]

4. Emojis on license plates

Beginning next month, residents of Queensland, Australia will be able to add emojis to their license plates. Why should you care? Emojis will not be included in the official registration number and will be limited to a few “happy” emojis (nothing angry or crude allowed). Overall the scheme has been met with mixed reactions from excitement to ridicule. So why do it? According to the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, “For quite some time we’ve seen that you can support your favorite team or your favorite town with a symbol on your number plate. And using an emoji is no different.” But is it? Perhaps the lesson here is that anything could be fair game for emojis as digital communications cement their role in modern language.  [BBC]

5. Non-smoking, 1 king-sized bed, and Libra

The Ultimo, a hotel in Sydney, Australia, is now offering room packages based on astrology signs. Why should you care? Interest in astrology by Millennials and Gen Z has been around for a couple of years, but brands are increasingly catering to this interest. The reasons behind this trend, according to the Atlantic are pretty sad. For example, Millennials, struggling with student debt, delayed life milestones and blame for all the world’s ills, are turning to things like astrology as both an escape and easy-to-access/free therapeutic assurance that everything will be okay. For Gen Z, Glamour UK suggests interest pop culture “witchcraft” may reflect some combination of growing up during the recession, managing the quickly changing landscape of social media, seeking self-care and rejecting social norms of what women are “supposed to do” by redefining “witch” in a feminist light. Whatever the reason may be, brands looking to soothe their female Gen Z and/or Millennial customers may find opportunities in light-hearted or playful uses of astrology, tarot cards and fortune telling. [Lonely Planet]

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