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. Just the good stuff.
This week Google announced they will be testing a feature where you can ask the Google Assistant to only tell you the “good” news, or stories about people “solving problems for our communities and our world.” Why should you care? A recent study by the American Psychological Association found “more than half of Americans now say that the news causes them stress, and many report feeling anxiety, fatigue or experiencing sleep loss as a result.” In a time where news feels increasingly negative, psychologists are worried that there will be long-term mental (and ultimately physical) health implications for individuals and society. That’s not good news (and wouldn’t be included if you asked Google to “tell me something good”). While this certainly isn’t a silver bullet (nor are they claiming it to be), it offers an alternative to what felt like the only other option before – forgo being informed for the sake of your sanity. [Tech Crunch]
2. Instamodelbots walking the virtual runway.
Fashion and beauty brands are beginning to work with Instagram influencers who are CGI models to promote their products. Why should you care? This year, we’ve seen more examples of brands like CVS, Aerie and Missguided focusing on “real” “untouched” beauty and featuring all types of models in their campaigns. This is an interesting counterexample where the models are not humans, but computer-generated images crafted to perfection. Although a broader focus on “real” beauty across the industry still feels like a fresh direction, using perfected computer-generated images seems to be the complete opposite of where the rest of the industry is going. As plastic surgeons comment on increased procedures based on filters or selfies, it will be interesting to see if these CGI models will become a fundamental part of the industry or if there will be consumer backlash for pushing beauty standards back to unattainable perfection. [AdWeek]
3. Alexa, how do I look?
Gwynnie Bee, an online clothing rental subscription service, is currently testing an Alexa skill with Amazon, that would create new experiences for customers while they open their boxes. Why should you care? We’ve seen brands like Gymboree and Tommy Hilfiger dabble in adding technology to their clothes. However, this is interesting because rather than focusing on novelty or rewards, this effort centers around adding or enhancing an experience in an occasion where they previously couldn’t reach the customer. Think about it this way, rather than a mundane experience of ripping tape off of a cardboard box, they are starting a conversation. If done well, this could feel incredibly curated, even luxurious, and potentially create a line of direct feedback from the customer to the company in real time as they react to their selections. [WWD]
4. Forget SparkNotes, think Insta.
This week, the New York Public Library has launched a campaign where they will be publishing classic novels as stories on Instagram. Why should you care? Teens are reading less than they did 30 years ago and spending more time on devices than ever before. Instead of throwing in the towel or providing yet another lecture about “kids these days” or the evils of technology, the New York Public Library embraced Instagram as a way to connect with more readers. [NYPL Blog]
5. Earn rewards for binge-watching Friends.
NBC Universal is launching a streaming system that will reward viewers for watching shows from their NBC, Bravo and USA channels. Why should you care? Under this system, viewers will earn points that they can redeem for gift certificates. With the average American watching just under 8 hours of television per day, these could also be the easiest reward points you’ve ever earned. However, everyone has a reward program these days (okay, except Netlflix). It is difficult to say if this will ultimately be enticing enough to push people into their new streaming service. [Engadget]
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