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. Spotify releases playlists for your pets
Spotify conducted a study on how pet owners use music with their pets and then launched Pet Playlists. Why should you care? We can all agree that the love between humans and pets is unconditional, so it may come as no surprise that owners think about their pets’ health and wellness – and that includes playing music for them. Survey participants shared that they think music can help relieve stress, boost happiness and keep pets company. Brands should consider how they can make emotional connections with audiences like Spotify did with Pet Playlists, which targets a passionate group (pet owners) with a fun, playful and personalized experience. [Spotify]

2. Louis Vuitton is opening its first restaurant
Luxury brand Louis Vuitton is opening a restaurant and café in its new boutique in Osaka, Japan. Why should you care? Louis Vuitton isn’t the only luxury brand that has opened up their own eatery – we’ve seen Tiffany and Belmond Ltd., also cross over into the hospitality business. Travel and tourism brands should keep an eye on these “experiential luxury” offerings to see if they will continue to attract consumers or fade out. [Business Insider]

3. Mental health days for students
California has introduced a bill to allow students to take “mental health days.” Why should you care? Mental wellness for school-age children is at the forefront of this effort. Supporters are hoping to help reduce the stigma that is still associated with those suffering from depression and anxiety. We’ve seen fashion and beauty brands (Revlon, The Nue Co., Madhappy, UpWest) join the mental health awareness conversation – many geared toward Gen Z and millennial customers. Whenever a brand takes a stand on an issue like this, it must be authentic and align with your brand values in order to engage your community and followers. It can’t just be a one-off campaign during Mental Health Awareness Week. [The Guardian]

4. Barbie’s image evolution
Barbie has released a line of dolls with prosthetic limbs, no hair and vitiligo. Why should you care? Mattel said it’s their “most diverse doll line” featuring “more skin tones, hair types and body shapes.” It’s no secret that Barbie has had an image problem and struggled to stay relevant. But by reinventing herself so more children can identify with a doll that looks like them, Mattel is making progress with evolving the Barbie doll into a more inclusive icon. [The New York Times]

5. The Guardian stops accepting fossil fuel ads

The Guardian newspaper has stopped accepting ads from oil and gas companies who they believe are causing our climate emergency. Why should you care? This reflects a growing concern and public awareness of climate change. Brands are being held more and more responsible for their actions and consumers have expectations that the companies they support will be responsible citizens – both globally and in their local communities. [The New York Times]

For more insights on communication and brand strategy, industry trends and more, subscribe today to the Weekly Buzz here.