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. Meme Stocks

What’s up: Reddit traders are pumping up ‘meme stocks’ again. Why we love it: Just like we saw with GameStop earlier this year, the community on the subreddit r/WallStreetBets is at it again – and they’re continuing to pump up nostalgic retail brands like AMC, Bed Bath & Beyond and BlackBerry. We love it because Reddit traders are rallying together to take on big Wall Street investors and get ahead of short sellers. [Forbes]

2. Resignations

What’s up: The COVID vaccine means a return to workplace and a wave of resignations. Why we love it: While we do love seeing more people get vaccinated and our country getting a better handle on COVID, we don’t love the side effects (of the vaccine and the pandemic itself). Specifically, we’re talking about the high employee burnout that has resulted from 2020. As restrictions are rolled back and we inch closer to pre-COVID life, the backlog of resignations will begin to clear as Americans feel more financially secure now that they have some semblance of normalcy again. [NBC News]

3. Hard Seltzer

What’s up: It’s going to be a big summer for hard seltzer. Why we love it: Who doesn’t love a boozy, bubbly drink? And the numbers don’t lie – sales exploded to $4 billion last year – a huge jump from the $500 million the industry made in 2018. As we sheltered in place and could no longer frequent our favorite bars, people turned to hard seltzers to stock their fridges. As its popularity soars, experts are predicting this year will result in even bigger sales as we are able to gather in groups again with hard seltzers being the Summertime drink of choice. [NYT]

4. New Detectorists

What’s up: The pastime of metal detecting is attracting new followers and sweeping the country. Why we love it: Dating back to the late 1800’s, metal detecting has a reputation as an “over the hill” hobby, but unsurprisingly, it gained steam with younger generations during COVID (see: cottagecore, 2000s fashion, meme stocks, etc). But, besides that feeling of nostalgia, what was the draw? Well, for starters, it’s an activity with social distancing built in – offering people a safe and entertaining way to explore the outdoors. With added benefits of providing an escape from our devices, reconnecting with fond childhood memories and of course – the prospect of finding hidden treasures, it became the perfect pandemic hobby. [NYT]

5. Schmooze

What’s up: Meme-based dating is here: meet Schmooze. Why we love it: Memes (or humor in general) really got us through the pandemic and now, with the invention of Schmooze, we’re seeing its popularity transferring over to dating apps. Vidya Madhavan, the creator behind the matchmaking app, says it was born out of the idea that a shared sense of humor is a really strong connector of people. And seeing as how Gen Z already communicates largely by way of meme, it was a natural inclination. [TechCrunch]

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