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. Outlook goals.

This week a lowly “out of office” email shut down the servers at Aviation Gin. Why should you care? In one night, new owner, actor Ryan Reynolds, received 20,000 emails to his company account [email protected] The reason? To receive his sarcastic and hilarious automatic “out of office” email, transforming what could have been an easily forgotten detail into a “surprisingly effective marketing tactic.” While the takeaway could simply be to let Ryan Reynolds be the spokesperson of everything, we think the attention to detail in marketing tactics combined with excellent execution is what makes this so interesting. [AdWeek]

2. All roads lead to Rome…and predict prosperity in Europe.

Danish economists published research this past week arguing that the locations of roads built by the Romans 2,000 years ago predict modern prosperity in Europe. Why should you care? As people, we tend to be biased towards emphasizing the importance of the most recent events over anything that precedes it. We like this story because it is a great reminder of how history shapes modern culture in ways seen and unseen. While we may not need to look 2,00o years back, research like this emphasizes how important legacies are in providing context to modern trends, social movements or the success of one brand over another. [The Washington Post]

3. Just five more minutes.

Since the Curiosity rover on Mars went into sleep mode, NASA scientists have been playing wake-up themed songs in attempts to rouse the robot. Why should you care? We love the idea that when they’ve tried everything else at NASA, Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is the answer. Perhaps more importantly, it is such a smart way to turn the clever musings of their scientists into earned media. [Quartz]

4. Snacks for standing in line.

Virgin Atlantic has been greeting its passengers at Heathrow Airport in London with treats to dampen the frustration of long lines at customs. Why should you care? A recent study by Think with Google found that customer experience was more important than rewards programs in building loyalty for airlines. Virgin Atlantic has long enjoyed “near-cult like following” for their dedication to providing unique and fun customer experiences. Rather than transferring the blame to customs officials and saying “not my job” when it takes two hours or more to get through customs, Virgin has taken it upon themselves to improve their customers’ experience in this part of the travel process. While customers are still frustrated, efforts like this will likely help Virgin retain loyalty while the UK Border Force works to reduce wait times. [The Points Guy]

5. No shame in being a tourist.

Hoteliers in Massachusetts are seeking to take back the word “tourist” through a new property named “Tourists.” Why should you care? In the past few years, “authentic experiences” while “traveling like a local” has emerged as the ultimate #travelgoals. However, this article challenges the notion that being a wide-eyed tourist isn’t a bad thing and instead argues, that “tourists can see the world with fresh eyes, unencumbered with the daily accumulations of local life.” It is too early to know if this marks a transition in travel philosophy, but provided an interesting counterpoint to the main narrative. [Skift]

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