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. Flying Cars

The world’s first flying car has been cleared for takeoff. Why should you care? We’ve mentioned flying cars on 5 in 5 before, but now we’re one step closer to the reality as Terrafugia’s transition roadable aircraft has been cleared by the FAA for takeoff. The hybrid two-seater aircraft and automobile is on track to be legal for both the sky and local roads by 2022. While things in the pandemic have been trending heavily on nostalgia, here’s something futuristic for a change. [DesignBoom]

2. Audio Takes Off

Audio has been booming during the pandemic. Why should you care? From Twitter’s “Spaces” launch, to the explosion in popularity of Clubhouse and Facebook’s copycat not far behind – audio as the medium of choice continues to gain popularity, which begs the question why now? John Lustyan, Founder of illum, a media consultancy, explains it as, “The intimacy of audio could be tailor-made for our shelter in place, contact-free lives.” As with everything, there is a positive and a negative – the audio boom is a great milestone for accessibility – but also presents yet another challenge for content moderation. [AXIOS]

3. Emojis 2021

Apple’s latest emoji drop promotes inclusivity, vaccines and the AirPods Max. Why should you care? As we’ve come to rely on the annual emoji updates as a sign of the times, this latest collection doesn’t disappoint. Some of the new emojis include beards for both men and women, even more skin tones, head in the clouds, an Apple product placement (changing the headphones emoji to look like the new AirPods Max) and probably the most notable change – an update to the syringe emoji. In an effort to make the emoji more applicable to vaccinations, it will no longer feature blood. We’ll consider this as another subtle PSA for the COVID-19 vaccine. [The Verge]

4. Popcorn Chicken Pizza

Pizza Hut has teamed up with KFC on a ‘Popcorn Chicken Pizza.’ Why should you care? Specifically for this story, we should change the question simply to, “why?” Maybe we can blame the pandemic on this too, but the world’s appetite for unlikely product mashups has proven to be never-ending. Weird food mashups aside, it’s also worth mentioning that this is the first time that two brands in the same category have ever come together on an ad campaign – which will include all the works (a celeb brand ambassador, TV ads and activations on TikTok and Reel that include a dance made especially for this peculiar food pairing). [AdAge]

5. Dispo

Retro photo app, Dispo, is gaining popularity. Why should you care? Just like Clubhouse, Dispo is currently on iPhone and invite-only, but has already reached its 10K TestFlight user limit within a week of its beta launch. The photo-sharing app is made to resemble a disposable camera – right down to the viewfinder, wait-time for photos to “develop” and devoid of any fancy editing features. Right in line with our nostalgic tendencies in the past year, Dispo takes us way back in time by focusing simply on the best parts of photography: candid, raw, unedited photos and relying solely on a basic disposable to capture the magic. [AXIOS]

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