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. When a promotion is too successful

As part of a promotion for the new season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon offered $0.30/gal gasoline at select locations in Santa Monica. Why should you care? Amazon worked with several local businesses in the area to roll back prices to what they would have been in 1959, including gasoline prices. This particular rollback was so popular, they had to call in the police to control traffic. While Amazon may be writing off more gas discounts than they bargained for, the event resulted in national news coverage. Perhaps the lesson for all brands is cheap gas gets attention? [The Verge]

2. Don’t pet bison

The National Parks service has released a “petting guide” for bison (spoiler alert: there is no safe place to pet a bison). Why should you care? The National Parks Service has a problem. People are getting much too close to the animals in parks most notably demonstrated in a video of a young girl being tossed by a bison earlier this summer. NPS has now launched a new social media campaign steeped in the ideal amount of good-natured annoyance and snark to remind park goers to admire the animals from a distance because they are, well, dangerous and wild. As fun as the visual is, the best part is the message is abundantly clear and effective: don’t pet bison. [Matador Network]

3. VR meets professional development

Talespin, a VR company, has created an avatar named “Barry” to help employees learn and practice firing someone. Why should you care? For most, they would consider themselves lucky not to be well-practiced in a skill like firing others. However, this is something that is eventually required of every manager and doing it right is important. A program like this allows employees to practice things that may be risky or difficult such as “soft skills” or safely operating machinery. Companies like Walmart are already using technologies like this for training and promotions. Although still limited, it is expected this will become an increasingly standard offering for professional development in the workplace. [MIT Technology Review]

4. Keeping kids in shoes

Nike recently launched a sneaker subscription service for kids. Why should you care? While we’ve seen subscription services come and go over the past couple of years, those who solve consumers’ problems are most likely to have staying power. Parents can schedule frequency of delivery to match their kids’ needs whether trying to keep pace with a growth spurt or simply keep up with kids who are a little rough on their shoes. This is a smart program because it solves several problems for parents all at once: a need to frequently replace shoes, a discounted price for pairs of shoes bought through the subscription service, straightforward returns and free recycling/donation for members. [Engadget]

5. Embracing the “Every Bod”

Hanes has launched a new campaign to promote male body positivity called “Every Bod.” Why should you care? As we continue a year of body positivity and a more inclusive approach to beauty, this seems like a logical next step. Many campaigns we’ve seen have focused more heavily on women, but according to a study conducted by Google and Dove+MenCare in 2017, only “7% of men can relate to depictions of masculinity in media.” Having brands show more types of male bodies (in the same way we’ve seen with female bodies), will help make them better connect to their consumers and garner greater respect at-large. [a.list]

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