Out of Scope

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Written by

Hirsch Leatherwood

Out of Scope

When The Candy Man Can't

Plus: Let them eat flakes and AT&T’s remorse

Banner Image: The Independent

As we celebrate the milestone of our 150th issue, we want to extend a quick thank you to our readers who catch up with us here every week. Here’s to many more editions of Out of Scope and more milestones to come! - Steve Hirsch and Evan Leatherwood

Happy Friday! This week, we examined a confectionary event that was less than scrumdiddlyumptious and an executive dispensing dietary advice like it’s 1789. But first...


  • Last week’s extended service outage was just the start of AT&T’s problems. The telecommunications titan is extending an olive branch to affected customers via a $5 credit—equivalent to the average daily service cost. Although intended as a goodwill gesture and a necessary business decision, the offer has faced skepticism from some customers who deem it inadequate and, frankly, absurd.

  • Fashion campaigns took center stage this week. Monica Lewinsky became the face of Reformation's partnership with Vote.org, aiming to raise awareness about the upcoming election. Meanwhile, Vox discussed Skim’s ad campaigns as they begin to rival Vogue’s covers in terms of cultural relevance.

  • Breakfast has gone full Marie Antoinette: “Let them eat Corn Flakes!” Kellogg's CEO, Gary Pilnick, came under fire this week while promoting its latest brand campaign, encouraging cash-conscious consumers to replace chicken with cereal in their dinner plates (or bowls) amid rising food prices.

💡ON OUR MINDS: When The Candy Man Can’t

  • Although a vocal proponent of pure imagination, Willy Wonka himself could not have anticipated the marketing fiasco that was “Willy’s Chocolate Experience,” a failed Glasgow pop-up that captured the attention of the Internet this week.

  • Billed as an immersive, whimsical experience and promoted with AI-generated visuals and ad copy, the actual event fell short of expectations. Compared by attendees to a meth lab, it featured a sparsely decorated warehouse with plastic props, a small bouncy castle, and unwitting actors contemplating life choices while rationing three jelly beans apiece to shell-shocked kids.

  • Not since the infamous Fyre Festival has the public been so quickly critical of an event that advertised so much yet delivered so little. Users worldwide pointed out the disparity between the AI-advertised experiences and the actual setup.

  • While marketing mistakes happen, AI’s role proves that the technology can either enhance success or further widen the gap between promise and delivery. From gibberish-laden AI scripts to the apparent no-show of vendors, it’s clear a human touch will be vital for communicating, marketing, and successfully executing an event.

  • So, if you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it… then hire an actual human with brand experience to bring it to life. Otherwise, in the words of the beloved candy man, “Strike that. Reverse it.”


In case you missed these reads.

  • Wendy’s has announced its menu costs are going the way of a ride to the airport as they look to implement demand-based surge-pricing in 2025.

  • Miami is attempting to “break up” with spring break by launching checkpoints, increasing fines, and expanding police presence to curb disruptions.

  • AI is on the verge of becoming fluent in fan fiction as Tumblr announces a partnership with OpenAI to train its tech using the platform’s content.

Thanks for reading,


This week’s newsletter is brought to you in honor of Flaco the Owl’s legacy. May he always live on in our hearts and minds, watching over the Upper West Side from above.