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. Meditation for the masses

Tap In, a free meditation app, is using the approach made popular by HQ Trivia to broadcast 10 minute meditation sessions live at specific times once each day. Why should you care? This represents a trend we are seeing where people use their digital devices to facilitate more personal connections. For some reason, the feeling, or even illusion, of a personal connection through these silent digital meetups, resonates. What is interesting about the HQ Trivia approach is that it is the best of both worlds for younger generations: being part of a large group with shared values/goals and participating without a lot of commitment or inconvenience. In a world where every brand is screaming to get an individual’s attention, having a set time, once a day, whether for trivia, meditation or otherwise, is a smart way to give people the experience they want, while the brand has their undivided attention. [Mashable]

2. Illuminated manuscripts for the Instagram era

Christian startup, Alabaster, is publishing Bibles featuring photography and simple design to cater to the visually-driven younger generations. Why should you care? Alabaster is creating high-end, coffee table-style Bibles to cater to Millennials, and eventually Gen Z. According to Vox, “they have extremely Goop-y vibes — in terms of both aesthetic and their Goop-esque markups”. Although Millennials are digital-first, it is important to remember most of them grew up in a print-first world where digital grew up with them. It shouldn’t be too surprising that they fundamentally crave both. With a Bible designed for Millennials by Millennials, perhaps brands should note the designers’ focus when creating printed materials for Millennials: “clean and spacious pages,” a “vaguely Scandinavian” design aesthetic and “alluring” photographs. [Vox]

3. How Budweiser may or may not #SeeHer

For International Women’s Day, Budweiser re-released print ads from the 1950s and 1960s alongside “reimagined” versions of those ads as part of a new partnership with ANA’s #SeeHer campaign which “fight[s] bias against women” in the media. Why should you care? Budweiser believes, as a prominent brand, it is their responsibility to change how women are portrayed in the media. They worked with female illustrators and made a commitment to work with #SeeHer to ensure future creative campaigns “showcase women in more balanced and empowered roles.” While it’s a great idea, we would have loved to see them push it a little further with these ads. It would have also been a little more meaningful if it hadn’t been saved for and/or restricted to International Women’s Day. [The Drum]

4. 20 Questions with NYT

The New York Times is now asking subscribers to answer 20 questions about their contact info, online presence, occupation, race, political leanings, interests, organizations, affiliations, etc. Why should you care?  The New York Times claims that this will be used to inform their coverage and involve subscribers in their reporting, a central piece of their 2020 innovation plan to experiment with how to engage their readers more. American Public Media found success with a similar initiative in 2012 and now has a database of over 200,000 sources to use for reporting stories across their network. Although their intentions seem good, and NYT claims they will not use provided social media profile links for targeted advertising, this sounds a little too familiar. Without a more explicit statement of how they might profit from that data (through direct sales or otherwise), why shouldn’t people be concerned that they aren’t picking up where Facebook left off? [NiemanLab]

5. Netflix = Homework

A new Chrome extension has been released that will provide subtitles, explanations, definitions and vocabulary words for Netflix shows in foreign languages as someone watches them. Why should you care? As we see people struggling to find balance with the technology in our lives, it’s always nice to see products that solve problems in our lives from the awe-inspiring to the just plain fun. Foreign language acquisition is difficult and can only advance so far through reading and listening to (even the best) non-native speakers. Additionally, before Netflix, it could be challenging to view foreign films because non-American DVDs have incompatible formatting for American DVD players and laptops. Now, language learners of all ages can learn a foreign language through something they already enjoy – watching Netflix. Maybe most importantly, in a world dominated by American music, film and television, watching foreign shows will give ordinary Americans a glimpse into the humor, daily lives, morals, concerns and landscapes of their peers all over the world. And a little empathy, a little perspective, never hurt anyone. [Lonely Planet]

For more insights on communication and brand strategy, industry trends and more, subscribe today to the Weekly Buzz here.