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. Quar-Horror

Inventive homemade horror shorts inspired by the pandemic and known as “quar-horror” are popping up all over YouTube. Why should you care? To say this year feels like a horror movie is an understatement, so with that, filmmakers have made it official. Some of these quar-horror shorts serve as both horror and PSA, reflecting on our current situation. For some filmmakers, it was a form of escapism, where they decided to make movies instead of bread. Art as escapism is definitely not a new concept, but it will be interesting to see how art continues to imitate life – especially in this day and age of COVID. [NPR]

2. Instagram Reels

On the heels of a shaky future for TikTok, Instagram launched its in-app rival, Reels. Why should you care? In a first, this Instagram product focuses more on creators than it does on everyday users and features the same algorithm as TikTok to show users the most popular videos vs. content curated to their preference. This is huge jump for Instagram, as Reels strays from its normal focus of beauty and aesthetics that currently dominates IG feeds and moves the focus onto talent. [Axios]

3. DoorDash

DoorDash has launched a convenience store. Why should you care? Called DashMart, it carries the same things you’d find in a normal convenience store like household items, but also packaged foods from local restaurants. This was a natural move for DoorDash as it partnered with more than 1,800 convenience stores during the start of the pandemic to better respond to the needs of customers. [TechCrunch]

4. COVID Rom-Com

This month, Freeform will debut a limited rom-com series called, “Love in the Time of Corona.” Why should you care? The four-part series will explore the search for love, sex and connection during the pandemic. Just as COVID has produced a new genre of film (see: quar-horror), it was only a matter of time that it touched current genres in film, like romantic comedies – and honestly, it’s the content we’ve been needing in a year full of crisis after crisis. [Deadline]

5. Mac & Cheese Breakfast

Kraft Mac & Cheese is declaring itself an acceptable breakfast food. Why should you care? If you’re a parent, then you know the trials and tribulations that come along with mealtime. Naturally, Mac & Cheese has become a best seller during the pandemic – with its appeal being that it’s simple to make and an all-around crowd pleaser, loved by everyone – young or old. And if you’re thinking this might be a stretch, a recent survey showed that 56% of 1,000 parents polled fed their kids mac & cheese for breakfast more during COVID than pre-pandemic times. [AdAge]

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