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  • 🧇 Sunday Bunch #5: Brands All the Way Down

🧇 Sunday Bunch #5: Brands All the Way Down

Welcome to a special Mother's Day edition of Sunday Bunch

Thank you for subscribing to Sunday Bunch.

First things first, Happy Mother’s Day 👩‍👦🎉

To all the mothers reading on this lovely Sunday (especially my own mom, and my incredibly patient wife), thank you for reading this on your special day.

For discussion today:

  • An Apple ad that gave people all sorts of feelings

  • Three streamers are forming a polycule

  • A choo-choo from Vegas to LA

  • The rise of metaconsumerist cinema

  • The greatest bread slicing innovation since sliced bread

All that and more, here we go…

Capitalism

🍏 Apple made an ad. People had opinions! Then Apple said ‘our bad.’ And the LinkedIn thinkposts just kept coming. To be honest, I’m more upset with them getting rid of stickers.

🤖 OpenAI is planning to fire shots at Google the day before the I/O conference kicks off, while also pondering the porn business.

📺 Disney+, Hulu, and Max are preparing a streaming bundle, in the ongoing arms race to compete with Netflix by reconstituting themselves as more expensive cable.

🛍️ Private equity bros are shopping for Nordstrom.

Consumerism

🤑 All I can think of when I read this article about Mr Beast and Logan Paul and Wall Street is how poorly those FaZe Clan takes aged. We’re back, baby!

☕️ Decaf is being rebranded as ‘kid coffee’.

🌶️ And it’s time to stock up on Huy Fong again.

Optimism

♻️ Protein Evolution is using AI to create a unique enzyme that recycles polyester textiles to remove oil and plastic waste.

🧬 Google’s DeepMind research group released AlphaFold 3, its latest scientific AI model capable of predicting the structure of large molecular structures such as proteins, RNA, DNA and modeling the chemical interactions in those molecules (which effectively control cell functioning).

Futurism

🚄 Brightline West nailed the first spike in the track that will carry its bullet trains to-and-from Las Vegas to LA. Next up, Texas?

🏡 Nine out of ten of the top places for young people buying their first homes are now cities with major universities3. Whatever, I did it first.

Tourism

🎟️ Taylor Swift fans are scoring tickets, plus airfare and hotels in Europe for less than a seat at one of her U.S. shows.

 Meow Wolf is coming to Los Angeles promising “cinematic grandeur, mysterious Easter Eggs, the forgotten side of Hollywood, [and] glamorous glitz” that will “pulsate under an overarching cosmic Meow Wolf Universe.”

Been saying it for years: if there is one thing LA needs more of, it’s pulsation. 👏 you beautiful creative geniuses.

Branded cinema

While we’re cutting back on “comic book movies” how are y’all feeling about the current output of crazy true story movies about brands?

Air was fun (it’s about Jordans and it has an A-list cast). The others were watchable (I even found some good in Unfrosted). But we need to go ahead and raise the bar on which brands and products deserve the origin story treatment.

Meanwhile down in gen pop, we have a whole pipeline of post-Barbie toys and nostalgic products queued up for big budget, big screen treatments, including Hot Wheels, Uno, Monopoly, and Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots.

Maybe this is just who we are now, the fully-realized metaconsumer?

We want to work all day, buy stuff, then watch dramatic tales of how that stuff came into existence. Or dive deeper into the rich universes co-created by brand marketing and studio development executives.

Is it too late to go back to the costumed superheroes?

CROCS: THE MOVIE - Coming Summer 2026

Give me fewer real brand stories, give me more fake ones! 

This Fictional Brands Archive–developed as part of a Master's thesis in Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano, titled Fictional Brand Design–is a good place to start for inspiration.

Putting a face on technology

When ATMs became popular in the 1970s, some banks felt it necessary to get their customers comfortable taking cash out of a machine. First National Bank of Atlanta gave its ATMs a face, a voice, and a name: Tillie.

I take back what I said, I would watch a movie about Tillie’s creation.

The technology was licensed to other financial institutions, like American State Bank in Texas, which celebrated her birthday like she was a member of the team (and apparently taught her to blow out candles):

Cut to 2024…

Run for the hills

A humble outdoor clothing brand that doesn’t sell online, only in their one Leadville, Colorado location; by extremely hard-to-get appointment only. This is the story of Melanzana.

THE DUFF CUT

This week, one brave sandwich artisan changed the way we think about slicing meat and bread, igniting the most 🔥 takes we’ve seen since the Great Hot Dog Debate.

SKIP SERVED COLD

Ten years later, this quote from Skip Bayless has aged like the finest of unpasteurized milks:

PLEASE TELL ME HIS NEIGHBOR WAS SKIP BAYLESS

Man who kept his boat besides his house was ordered from the city to put up a fence to hide the boat from view.

So he built the fence and hired someone to paint it:

I have to give a few quick shout-outs:

🙏 Thank you to Steve Caputo, Jason Nichols, Billy Chuck, and Ronny MacD for their contributions to this week’s edition.

To my fellow Kyles, this is the year we break the record.

I appreciate you joining me for Sunday Bunch. Hope you have a lovely Mother’s Day and a great week. I will see you next weekend.

Thanks,
Kyle

P.S. This whole thing is still a bit of an experiment, so if you have any suggestions you can reply to this message, email me directly, or simply fill out the comment card down below.

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NOTES

1  That train has sailed.

2  You know how far behind us Americans are w/r/t to trains? There are like 8 different types of train emoji and I had to look at their descriptions to make sure I was using the right one.

3  Are they moving there, or just never leaving post-college?

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