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. Disney books brought to life through AR

Disney books published by Little Hippo will now have AR extensions thanks to a new partnership with Tigra Live Animations. Why should you care? AR is such a great fit for Disney books, particularly those designed for preschoolers. As Disney is all about bringing fantasy worlds to life, how better than by bringing books to life? (So long as we don’t go full Toy Story with bringing toys to life, that would just be creepy.) Disney joins several children’s brands like Lego in exploring AR experiences designed for kids. It is a smart move because AR can be a powerful tool of play by tapping into children’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder. However, as we don’t know the long-term effects of screen time on children, brands should be particularly diligent to ensure these applications facilitate healthy and balanced tech relationships. [Kidscreen]

2. Roomba with a rap sheet

This week in Oregon, police responding to a 911 call for a “burglary in progress” discovered a Roomba trapped in a bathroom instead. Why should you care? We laughed out loud at this one. So did the officers when they busted through the bathroom door, guns drawn, ready for anything…except a Roomba. Aside from the laughs, we included this story for a couple of reasons. First, this is an excellent example of how transitioning to a world with more robots will be rocky. In hindsight, the shadows and noises prompting the call make sense for a Roomba, but because they are yet to be staples in society, no one thought of it. Second, the precinct had a great sense of humor about it and smartly took the opportunity to get some great social and earned media coverage by posting the play-by-play on their Facebook page (complete with some nice puns in the comments). Third, where is iRobot (maker of the Roomba) in this conversation? We would love to see iRobot with a funny response of their own…but time is running out. [NPR]

3. Astrology by Amazon

Amazon now sends Prime members horoscopes infused with product recommendations through their newsletter. Why should you care? We’ve talked about astrology before and the growing interest in it is an important trend to keep in mind, especially for younger consumers. For most, astrology is fun or “entertainment” or “an escape”. However, Amazon’s stumbled in capitalizing on this trend because they didn’t understand it. According to Fast Company, “…there is something unseemly about Amazon utilizing horoscopes strictly to sell stuff. Prime’s tactic falls flat for several reasons, but mostly because it doesn’t understand its audience—or the practice.” Because of this, we predict the rollout will continue to get 1-star reviews with Mercury exiting retrograde at the end of March and a full moon approaching on April 19th. [Fast Company]

4. Taming our goldfish mind with art

Museums around the world are offering new activities to help people derive greater benefit and appreciation of art. Why should you care? Record numbers of people are visiting museums these days, but on average spend 15-30 seconds looking at a piece (and let’s be real, for most people, that’s finding the right filter for their selfie). That isn’t enough time to understand, appreciate or benefit from it. To counteract this, museums are offering a variety of activities to encourage longer and more thoughtful interactions with their exhibits, dubbed as part of the “slow art” movement. Some offer tours and guided sessions, while others incorporate yoga and meditation to “set the mood” before even seeing the exhibits. Overall, though, we see this as an early indicator (alongside the “slow journalism” movement) of growing interest in being present, reducing distractions and retraining our brains to be less reactive and more contemplative (and hopefully we’ll see throughout the year that the last one isn’t just wishful thinking). [BBC]

5. SnapChat expands to gaming

Late last week, SnapChat launched a new multi-player gaming platform for users. Why should you care? Brands who think gaming is for a small subset of guys defined by “gamer” stereotypes, will be soon left in the dust if they don’t update their perceptions. Gaming has been going mainstream for awhile, but Fortnite accelerated the progress. As Snap has been struggling recently to compete with Instagram and other social media apps, turning to gaming was a smart move. Brands, especially those looking to target Gen Z and Millennials, should take notice. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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