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. Water in a can
Next year, Pepsi will test selling its signature bottled water, Aquafina, in cans. Why should you care? Consumers are asking for companies to step up and address environmental issues. Plastics are top of mind. Across their supply chain, Pepsi is making changes to their packaging from using 100% recycled plastic for some products while switching to cans for others. This isn’t a small ask per se, but companies that step up and offer consumers options to move the needle on environmental issues will likely see growth and loyalty, particularly among younger generations. [Bloomberg]
2. Life before screens
Some parents are hiring coaches to help create screen-free environments at homes and schools. Why should you care? At the same time news organizations, businesses, etc. are pivoting to a digital-first model, we are seeing consumers back (or run) away from their digital devices. While the idea of having a coach telling people how to live like we did 15 years ago seems silly, it may also prevent the wholesale abandonment of digital devices. According to the article, most coaches preach balance. Though businesses may have to rethink their digital strategies to accommodate new behaviors, they shouldn’t worry about abandoning them. [The New York Times]
3. Double for influencers
CVT, an ice cream truck in LA, has recently published a new policy charging influencers double the regular amount for their ice cream. Why should you care? Influencers remain an important part of a campaign strategy, but stories like this are worth monitoring to anticipate changing perceptions. Though this may be an anomaly (or well-designed stunt), it is important to continue to watch how people interact with influencers particularly as to whether they are still perceived as authentic and trustworthy. [Matador Network]
4. Are you sure you want to post that?
Instagram announced they are rolling out a feature that uses AI to identify questionable posts and ask users to reconsider posting before it goes live. Why should you care? As social networks struggle to find the right way to police content, turning to social engineering is an interesting approach. Rather than use AI to decide what is or isn’t posted, it places the responsibility back on the user. It’s fair to be skeptical that humans are able to self-police in this way, but early tests by Instagram claimed it “encouraged many people to rescind their comments.” Even if this simply takes some of the burden off of human moderators, it seems like a positive step forward in the murky space of free speech and censorship. [MIT Technology Review]
5. Sponsored things on Stranger Things?
According to Fast Company, activations coinciding with Netflix’s new season of Stranger Things may be showing us the line for too much advertising. Why should you care? What’s a brand to do? You’ve spent all of this time coming up with a clever tie-in to a popular show and pop culture phenomenon and it’s really good. Except, so has everyone else. Although most of the activations we’ve seen have been clever and fun, this may be a good reminder for brands. If they want to stand out, the space around a popular event may be too crowded, even with really cool ideas. [Fast Company]
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