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Out of Scope Issue #125: Pumpkin-Spiced Corporate America
Plus: The Weather Channel's New Digs and Dark Brandon Returns
Happy Friday! This week, we got the mugshot heard round the world— more on that next week. But first…
📡ON OUR RADAR
San Francisco’s comeback story continues as Waymo redeploys its self-driving cars in big tech’s backyard. Despite earlier suspensions due to technical challenges and accidents, Waymo's return reaffirms San Francisco’s status as a hub for technological innovation, pandemic-related setbacks and all.
The latest examples of corporate titans wearing different hats at their companies to better understand day-to-day challenges include Lufthansa Group's CEO Jens Ritter working as a cabin crew member and Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi working as a courier. In both cases, each CEO left their shift committed to enhancing motivation and team experience, and primed for a star-turn on the potential revival of Undercover Boss.
As presidential hopefuls gathered on Wednesday for the first Republican debate of the 2024 race, there was another elephant in the room. “Dark Brandon” continues to cast his shadow over the race with a series of Milwaukee billboards and ads on the Fox News site prominently displaying the 46th President’s famed alter-ego—and fueling Biden’s re-election campaign.
💡ON OUR MINDS: Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice
Pumpkin spice season is officially upon us, with an earlier arrival date than ever before. On August 8, Dunkin’ teased its brand-new fall menu that would roll out the very next week, featuring its iconic Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and Pumpkin Spice Signature Latte, among other autumnal treats rolling out in the dead of Summer.
Dunkin’ isn’t the only brand pushing pumpkin spice before Labor Day: Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, and 7-Eleven are also capitalizing on America’s love of fall flavors earlier this year than last. But as the summers get warmer, it’s hard not to notice the seasonal dissonance that comes with sipping a cozy PSL in sweltering heat.
In fact, Starbucks’ pumpkin spice announcement this year ironically coincided with Chicago's hottest day of the year, as temperatures soared to around 100 degrees with a heat index of 115 degrees.
For many consumers, the annual debut of pumpkin spice has become synonymous with the start of fall. But as summers (and autumns, for that matter) get hotter and hotter, what used to be a moment associated with crisp air and colorful foliage feels increasingly separate from Mother Nature’s shifts.
With no end to the early-drop pumpkin spice trend in sight, we can't help but ask ourselves: When the lines dividing seasons have become blurred, do coffee brands—and an admittedly delicious flavor—truly have the power to change the seasons themselves? Only time will tell.
In case you missed these reads.
IBM announced it would sell The Weather Channel this week.
The Atlantic asked readers two questions: What happens when you ask something to scale in the digital age? And what happened to Wirecutter?
After NFL announced a rule change permitting players to wear the jersey #0 for the first time in the league's history, Pepsi and Pepsi Zero wasted no time in establishing partnerships with players set to rock the number this upcoming season.
Thanks for reading,
This week’s newsletter is brought to you with a CDC-endorsed advisory against kissing your turtles.