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. Relaxing after a long day with…Legos

Adults are turning to Legos as a way to de-stress after work. Why should you care? To survive the never-ending grind of hustle culture, people are looking for new ways to manage their health and welfare. Play, because of positive nostalgic feelings and its inherent calming features, has become a new frontier for stress management. As self-care continues to reinvent itself and expand, brands should look for ways to help people de-stress. This could be through specific products (as in the case of Legos), but also by streamlining their communications to meet their consumers’ needs for simplification. [The Washington Post]

2. Playing “chicken” with your data

The New York Times has published a game on their website where players must give up all of their data to win. Why should you care? In a world where attention is at a premium, news organizations are smartly turning to new ways to tell stories. This game is masterfully poignant in illustrating how data is collected from us and how it is used. Brands should consider how they can support these compelling storytelling efforts when pitching stories to the media. [The New York Times]

3. RIP Mr. Peanut

Planters killed off Mr. Peanut in a teaser for their Super Bowl ad. Why should you care? Well, that’s one way to re-brand. It certainly garnered significant attention on social media, built suspense for their Super Bowl ad of Mr. Peanut’s funeral and will allow them to start with a blank slate. As brilliant as this move was, brands shouldn’t jump to mimic the stunt and kill off their own mascots. Instead brands should look to respond in a clever way like Moon Pie. [Ad Age]

4. Blockchain not likely to the rescue

News organizations are testing if blockchain can be effectively used to identify forged photos online. Why should you care? The New York Times tested blockchain technology with readers to see if it helped them better determine fake and real photos. Their experiment illustrated that readers feel most confident in photos when the providence can be verified. With 2020 as an election year, we expect fake news and photos will continue to be an issue facing news organizations. Brands who can support these issues in their media relations, will help build trust in news sources as well as build trust for their own brands. [Nieman Lab]

5. It puts the phone in the envelope

Google’s Digital Wellbeing Experiments division has created a paper envelope for Androids to help users reconnect with the world around them. Why should you care? When sealed in this envelope, the phone can be used to make calls and take pictures, but is intended to prevent mindless use of apps and social media. This is another example of companies stepping up to help users better manage their screen time. However, as digital experts say that creating “sacred time or spaces” where phones aren’t used is the best way to manage screen time, brands should be looking for opportunities in 2020 to help people create those spaces. [MIT Technology Review]

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