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. KFC’s New Colonel Sanders

KFC has released its latest “Colonel Sanders”: a CGI Instagram influencer caricature. Why should you care? If you didn’t know, CGI Instagram influencers have been a thing for awhile now, some with millions of followers and major endorsement deals with luxury brands. Cue KFC, in their brilliant satirical style and timing, who has now developed their own CGI influencer “thirsty for brand partnerships” and already “crushing deals with brands like Dr Pepper, Old Spice and TurboTax.” We like this because it is totally inline with KFC’s quirky and irreverent tone while also poking fun at the very industry who puts stunts like this together. [Eater]

2. Lush says “its you, not me” to social media in the UK

Last week, Lush UK announced they would be abandoning some of their social media channels. Why should you care? They haven’t revealed which channels they intend to keep or how they will drive conversations around passion, but we plan to watch their next few moves. With consumers shifting to private messaging apps, this seems like a good bet for their new strategy to, as stated on the announcement, “open up the conversation between you and us.” According to The Cut, “…they are distinguishing themselves by stepping back from social media, a move that seems counterintuitive in a time when influencers and sponsored content seem to dominate the beauty industry.” As social media becomes increasingly complex for brands to navigate, it will be interesting to see which brands continue to find ways to optimize the channels and/or if others follow in Lush’s footsteps. [The Cut]

3. Lipstick bar charts for female empowerment

L’Oreal recently released a series of ads in Germany calling for more women in leadership positions. Why should you care? We’ve seen a lot of brands trying to find clever and appropriate ways to talk about women’s issues, particularly in light of rising social movements like #metoo. What many brands seem to struggle with is how they connect a message their consumers care about with their brand in a nontrivial way. For many, this has involved tying their brand to a larger aspirational narrative and its been met with mixed results. L’Oreal didn’t bother tying their products back to a larger message. Instead they used them for creative data visualizations supporting their stance and found a natural way transform their tagline of “Because I’m Worth It” to “We’re all worth it.” Now, any brand must practice what they preach to succeed with a campaign like this. If they can check that box, replicating L’Oreal’s approach may be a good model for brands who want to enter the social movements that matter to their customers, but aren’t sure where to start. [The Drum]

4. Rethinking the supply chain for sneakers

Adidas has released a prototype of its Loop line of sneakers that can be recycled into new sneakers. Why should you care? We’ve seen consumers demand more companies take responsibility for their role in environmental issues. While some balk at the increased costs, major companies are finding new opportunities to meet consumer needs, especially as people demonstrate increasing willingness to purchase products from brands whose values align with theirs. Earlier this year, other CPG brands announced initiatives to close their supply chain loop so that waste is not only diverted, but the need for raw materials is also reduced, if not eliminated. While this will be disruptive to the established order of consumption, we believe brands who seize this opportunity will be rewarded both in the short and long run. [Gizmodo]

5. Skincare: The Musical

For one night, and one night only, Olay performed an Off-Broadway show based on last year’s viral musical ad. Why should you care? This is the second instance we’ve seen of a major brand hosting a one-night-only performance of a Broadway-style musical. (Skittles had one during the Super Bowl instead of advertising during the game.) Cool idea? Absolutely. So is the industry having a “Broadway moment”? Hard to say. [Adweek]

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