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. Cyber Monday sales hit record high

Amazon’s Cyber Monday sales hit $9.4 billion this year, making it the biggest online sales day in U.S. history. Why should you care? Shoppers spent $12 million per minute between 8 and 9 p.m. Pacific time. Total sales increased by $1.5 billion from last year with a third of those purchases made on phones. Phones are expected to drive nearly half of all online sales growth this holiday season. The trend of increased mobile purchases is likely to increase over the coming years as Gen Z gets older. As online and, specifically, phone purchases continue to grow it is important to remember these shifting customer tendencies when creating and adjusting plans to market products. [Cnet]

2. Ford is creating car parts out of coffee

Ford, with the help of McDonald’s, is working to create the plastic headlamp housing in some cars out of coffee chaff (skin from the coffee bean that comes off during roasting process). Why should you care? Consumers are becoming more concerned about plastic waste and its effect on the environment. Through McDonald’s, Ford was connected to a coffee supplier to obtain the coffee chaff that otherwise would have been thrown out. This isn’t Ford’s first foray into turning waste products into car parts; Ford has been using waste from soy, wheat, coconut and tomatoes in their cars since 2011. This is a fantastic example of “how brands with distinct sustainability initiatives can work together” and shows potential for other companies to work together to reduce their waste especially as consumers demand more of brands on sustainability commitments. [CNN]

3. Gum with healthy additives

Gum makers have begun to add vitamins to entice customers to purchase a pack. Why should you care? This represents consumers’ changing attitudes toward anything they put in their body. Chewing gum has lost sales to mints and to other means of burning nervous energy, like the fidget spinner. Between 2010 and 2018, U.S. gum consumption decreased by 23%. Mondelez and other brands are attempting to create gum flavors that offer additional benefits, like gum to support sleep, increase energy, alleviate headaches and stimulate weight loss. A brand that is already succeeding with this new type of gum is Apollo Brands, who created “Fly Gum” for frequent flyers and pilots that is used to combat jet lag by releasing caffeine and vitamin B. As eating continues to become more thoughtful for consumers, functional benefits will become an essential part of food enjoyment. [Wall Street Journal]

4. A new app, Podcorn, just launched

Podcorn connects advertisers with podcasters and manages sponsored messages in podcasts. Why should you care? This app makes it possible for brands to discover hundreds of targeted podcasters based on their niche and scale. Rather than traditional pre, mid and post-roll ads read by hosts where payment to the podcaster is based on number of listeners, companies can now request brand interviews and panel discussions. The app gives companies the opportunity to see the value of creators regardless of size (similar to influencer marketing on Instagram). This might be especially useful for a brand that wants to “speak” directly to the audience. As podcasts become increasingly mainstream, transitioning an influencer marketing mindset to this genre could be a more efficient way to transmit brand messaging to a niche audience. [Tech Crunch]

5. Peloton ad backlash

Peloton released a new holiday commercial and viewers are not impressed. Why should you care? In the ad, a man gives a woman a Peloton. The wife proceeds to use the Peloton every day and begins posting vlogs about her experience for a year. Reaction to the ad on social media was overwhelmingly negative. While many users compared the 30-second commercial to an episode of Black Mirror on Netflix, other users called the video sexist and classist. Comedian Eva Victor even released a parody of the ad which has received over 3.5 million views. While the fallout continues, the online backlash had immediate consequences for Peloton’s stock, falling 9 points the day after the ad ran. For all brands trying to navigate what is and isn’t okay in today’s world, this should serve as a reminder to consider how all viewers will react to your advertising and marketing efforts before launching a new campaign. [New York Times]

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