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. “Dreamhouse” to “Dream Gap”.

For International Day of the Girl, Barbie launched an initiative to raise awareness for the “dream gap” which they describe as the time after girls turn 5 and stop believing that they can aspire to anything in the same way boys their age do. Why should you care? Barbie serves as an excellent example of how a brand was able to adjust to cultural shifts and reinvent their product in a way that resonates with modern consumers. Not so long ago, Barbie was the quintessential example when criticizing the unrealistic expectations that young women encountered. However, in 2016, Barbie revamped their product line and was praised for promoting healthier body images by creating dolls with varying, but realistic, body sizes, hair types, skin colors, and face shapes. The “Dream Gap Project” continues this evolution by supporting research to understand why girls become less aspirational after age 5 and launching dolls “that help illustrate the breadth of dreams girls can have.” [Ad Age]

2. When the vacation is about the flight, not the destination.

Virgin Atlantic is now selling tickets for a “Pride flight” from London to NYC on June 28th, 2019 staffed entirely by LGBTQ+ pilots/crew and with Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) as the MC. The flight will also feature a “DJ, Drag Queen Bingo, a Judy Garland singalong, inflight speed dating, and live performances.” Why should you care? In a world of shrinking seats, average meals and additional charges for everything, this is what value looks like. While airlines struggle to differentiate themselves, an event like this makes Virgin Atlantic stand out. Not only do they establish themselves as an LGBTQ+ friendly airline, but they are also offering unforgettable experiences…even for their steerage, I mean, economy passengers. [Matador Network]

3. There’s no place like home…except everywhere but home.

IKEA recently released the results of its 2018 “Life At Home” study which found that “feeling at home” is no longer restricted to their house and that living spaces don’t give people the mental privacy they need. Why should you care? IKEA identified five characteristics that are important for living spaces: privacy, security, comfort, ownership and belonging. We have seen over the past year people seeking out “meditative moments” where they have the time and space to recharge. This study found that 45% of people go to their cars to have moments to themselves. Another interesting finding was that home didn’t provide a sense of belonging for respondents. Ultimately, it seems that living spaces are failing to provide the refuge and connection people seek. As “loneliness” becomes a growing concern in the public health community, IKEA’s report illustrates how loneliness permeates a person’s daily routines. Brands should be mindful of how they contribute to issues like loneliness, lack of privacy or belonging and could be invaluable if they provide real solutions. [Fast Company and IKEA]

4. Marketing to your vital signs.

Walmart recently filed a patent application for a shopping cart handle that would track shoppers’ biometric data including “stress level, body temperature and heart rate.” Why should you care? Walmart has stated that they want to collect this data in order to provide better customer service. For example, if a customer seems stressed, they might send someone to help them find a product. Collecting this data will enable them to track how customers feel about prices, the experience, both generally and possibly for individual shoppers. While people didn’t abandon Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, they are not as complacent with data as they were. Walmart may truly intend to only use this technology to help their consumers. However, if the intention is to subliminally encourage someone to spend more money based on analyzing a shopper’s personal data, misleading consumers about how their data is used will erode brand loyalty in the long run. [Inc.]

5. Hello, death.

Coca-Cola’s new campaign in New Zealand gained notoriety after consumers realized the slogan translated to “Hello, death” in te reo Maori, an indigenous language of New Zealand. Why should you care? This campaign was well-intentioned: they wanted to combine “hello” in te reo Maori, “Kia Ora,” with the popular UK/Australia/New Zealand slang for friend, “mate” to have an inclusive campaign, not realizing that “mate” in te reo Maori translates to “death.” No word on whether Coca-Cola consulted with Maori speakers before launching, but it is a good reminder that brands seeking to engage with new audiences should consult them to avoid errors in both linguistic and cultural translation. Luckily for Coca-Cola, it seems most people are enjoying the irony of its accidentally brutal “transparency” about a high-calorie drink, but as obesity disproportionately affects indigenous peoples in New Zealand, it will be important to be culturally sensitive in a response. [Time]

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