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. Kyoto, Japan is advertising its emptiness

Kyoto, normally struggling with overtourism, is advertising the city’s emptiness to combat travel concerns because of the Coronavirus outbreak. Why should you care? There’s growing concern from brands about the coronavirus, and we’ve seen responses range from cancellations of events to holding virtual vs in-person events. The tourism industry is clearly experiencing the effects, and although the “empty Arashiyama” campaign is attempting to attract visitors with the rare chance to see popular sites without fighting crowds, it remains to be seen if the draw is strong enough to overcome the health risks. [Matador Network]

2. The GIF/Jif debate continues

Jif peanut butter and Giphy partnered up for a campaign focused on the pronunciation of “GIF.” Why should you care? Special edition jars of Jif peanut butter have “Gif” labels – trying to end the silly argument once and for all that there is a distinction between how to say the two names. It’s a clever way for the J.M. Smucker Company to join an online “debate” that ties into their classic product. We’re sure it will give a few grocery shoppers a double-take and be a conversation starter over PB&J sandwiches. [The Verge]

3. Traveling light may be possible

Hotels are collaborating with fashion companies to offer travelers the option to rent clothes on arrival rather than stressing about what to pack. Why should you care? Services like these are gaining popularity with “bleisure” travelers and millennial professionals. Renting clothing also has an eco-friendly benefit that’s attractive for travelers – for example, you might need a winter coat during your trip, but have no need for one when you return home. Other hotels offer clothing and accessories that are available to “borrow” during your stay. From workout gear to rain boots or sunglasses, your concierge now may have a closet. We love this concept, which declutters your suitcase – and also may save you money on airplane baggage fees. Brands should take note of how these new hotel “amenities” are really taking CX into consideration. What can your organization do to lighten the load of your consumers and alleviate their pain points? [The New York Times]

4. Clorox’s mystery singer
Musician CLRX is drawing attention for her original songs on YouTube, including “So Clean,” about how bleach “works on everything.” Why should you care? The Clorox Company explains, “the strategy behind CLRX is to appeal to young adults in an authentic, non-intrusive manner that’s more about communicating with them than at them.” This is a good example of brands cultivating nontraditional means of advertising and reaching consumers in more subtle ways. The campaign strategy mirrors everything you would do to promote a young recording artist – building an online presence, sharing social media content and dropping fresh tracks. [Adweek]

5. Perks for employees who go “flight-free”

Greenhouse PR, based in the UK, offers employees extra vacation days if they choose to take low-carbon public transportation instead of flying.  Why should you care? The company’s Climate Perks program was inspired by its desire to reduce flights and carbon emissions. As brands review their employee incentive programs, they should consider rewards that address global issues – like climate change. Will the majority of Greenhouse’s employees decide to take the train, car or bike to work in exchange for more leisure time – and contributing to positive environmental change? We hope that’s the result – but we’ll have to circle back. [Lonely Planet]

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