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. Talk to the teens.

Luxury travel company, TCS World Travel in Seattle has created a “teen advisory panel” to consult for the firm in designing bespoke family vacations and creating guidelines for traveling with teens. Why should you care? This is a smart tactic to address the convergence of two trends affecting the travel industry: the expansion of multigenerational vacations and an empowered Gen Z, who already loves sharing their experiences through social media and values the advice of their peers. As grandparents pay and teens plan, brands will need to continue to adjust their strategies to appeal to both. As for the bottom line, TCS World Travel also views this as a long-term investment in client management. “Teen moods can make or break a family vacation, and currying favor early can translate into a lifetime of loyalty.” [Bloomberg]

2. Low sensory shopping.

Select grocery store brands across the UK, New Zealand and Australia have introduced weekly quiet hours to support a low sensory shopping experience for customers with autism. Why should you care? In today’s world we are seeing more open discussions and direct acknowledgement of disabilities by brands across industries. Adding these low sensory hours is such a good way to say, we’re open for everyone or at least trying to be open for everyone. Brands should continue to think about how they can serve the needs of their customers not only through their products, but also through their retail experiences. A transformation won’t happen overnight, but brands who don’t find new ways to accommodate, or even better, embrace the needs of their diverse customer base will soon find themselves out of touch with consumer expectations. [Cassandra Daily]

3. Keep your cat calm and carry on listening to Cat Calm.

Whiskas, the cat food brand, launched a radio station with “music” specifically composed to have a calming effect in cats. Why should you care? Whiskas launched “Cat Calm” as an earned media initiative for “Take Your Cat to the Vet Day” on August 22nd (because there is apparently a holiday for literally everything these days). As cat owners can attest, the ride to and from the vet can be particularly challenging. Research has shown that while other animals respond to music, cats develop differently and therefore react better to “sounds resembling heartbeats” and “slurpy suckling-of-milk vibes.” With the Whiskas mission to help “cats live healthy and happy lives,” this is an excellent example of going beyond a product offering to meet the needs of their consumers (and their owners).  [Adweek]

4. Revenge of the burger robots.

Creator, a new San Francisco restaurant, now uses robots to make their burgers. Why should you care? This is the latest example of robots being introduced into the food industry to replace a job once held by a human. Don’t fret the robot uprising/takeover, etc. just yet – these restaurants still employ humans working alongside robots focused on other tasks. However, it will be interesting to see how and if robots like the ones at Creator become standard or remain a fascinating novelty. [NPR]

5. Lunchtime snacks and inspirational notes.

Frito-Lay recently launched a campaign where parents can write notes on bags of chips for their kids’ lunches. If they have writer’s block, they can ask Alexa for help. Why should you care? In a survey conducted by Frito-Lay, they found that parents were concerned about their kids mental well-being at school and wanted to find new ways to encourage them throughout the day. Creating special back-to-school bags with a space for a note and having an Alexa skill to write these notes makes for an interesting combination to address this concern. Although fun with the right touch of novelty, I just can’t quite imagine that Alexa has the same sincerity of a parent’s note, but perhaps copying the answer is just part of the territory in going back to school. [NASDAQ]

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