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. The $120,000 Banana

Art Basel Miami Beach’s most talked about piece of art was a banana stuck to the wall with duct tape. Why should you care? The artist, Maurizio Cattelan, sold three originals and two artist proof’s ranging in price from $120,000 to $150,000. The sculpture comes with instructions on how to replace the banana every week. According to The New York Times, “Cattelan relies on the suspension to make the obvious seem ridiculous and to deflate and defeat the pretensions of earlier art.” Considering the amount of conversation generated by this controversial piece, it certainly speaks to people. Could it be comic relief in an otherwise serious world? Perhaps similar absurdity will find its way into advertising in what is shaping up to be another serious year: 2020. [New York Times]

2. Tech Has Gone Dark

This year the iPhone, Instagram, Pinterest and many more apps have introduced “dark mode.” Why should you care? Dark mode is said to make users calmer and be easier on the eyes. Tech companies’ move to dark mode represents a larger awareness of the health of their users. Consumers are pushing companies to be allies to our happiness, or at the very least, not actively hurting our health. In designing and marketing new products, companies should be ready to answer a question consumers are increasingly asking themselves: what added benefit is this product giving me? [CNN]

3. Netflix Tweet Goes Viral

Last week, Netflix posted a tweet that said, “What’s something you can say during sex but also when you manage a brand twitter account?” Why should you care? Netflix opened the door for brands to respond in a funny, honest way. Penguin Random House responded with, “I’m going to be doing this in bed all weekend,” while Snickers responded, “Satisfied?” The responses from brands kept on coming. This is representative of brands taking a more laid back approach to social media in an effort to seem more human online. The personification of a brand is important, but it is also crucial to keep in mind the brand’s persona and ensure these care-free posts reflect a company-specific tone. [NBC]

4. Do you miss your old iPod?

A new app called Rewound was just released that turns your iPhone into an old iPod. Why should you care? Who doesn’t miss the old days of the iPod classic with the click-wheel and no internet connection? The app designers stated that their primary motivation for creating this app was nostalgia. The app mixes the digital world with the physical by simulating the feel of the old iPod through a feature called “haptic touch.” Users can even choose which year’s model you would like to use. As we see more people long for “good old days” as a source of comfort, brands should consider how to incorporate simple experiences that promote organic nostalgia. [Cnet]

5. A Virtual Reality Dining Experience

The James Beard House, a townhouse in the West Village of New York built in 1844, has begun hosting VR dinners called Aerobanquets RMX. Why should you care? This might be the future of dining. The VR is set in a Dali-esque environment, where food is “stumbling in.” The food that arrives through this alternate universe does not look like a typical meal, but like mini science experiments. The real dishes are created based off of visual and aural cues of the VR. For example, in the VR, a slab of meat is turning into musical instruments while, in reality, you are eating an Impossible burger. Ultimately, diners leave asking themselves, “Was that a meal or performance art?” With VR becoming more accessible and consumers paying more for experiences than ever before, we can certainly expect to see more restaurants experimenting in this way. [Washington Post]

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