In this down economy, upscale restaurants suffer greatly now that expense accounts are closely watched. How can one enjoy a nice, juicy steak without looking irresponsible? Enter ExpenseASteak.com, a site promoting Maloney & Porcelli, an upscale NYC steakhouse. Here's how it works. Enter the cost of your meal into the generator, wait patiently for numbers to crunch, then download a PDF of various receipts totaling your meal amount. The receipts are harmless expenses ranging from office supplies, cab fare and business-related books. This campaign gets better. Since patrons usually leave with a doggie bag and can't possibly return to the office with a Maloney & Porcelli-branded doggie bag, a minor problem arose. A solution was swiftly created. Doggie bags from M&P feature logos from Chipotle, Sbarro and Olive Garden. Better still, said brands have no idea their logos are being used for deceptive purposes. Surprise! Then again, the brands are receiving free press... Each bag features the tongue-in-cheek line, "free to roam wherever you please, completely invisible to the watchful eyes of the etiquette police." Walrus created the site.
Caribou Coffee launched a handful of videos promoting its fall menu flavors starring Jack & Gourdo, a pumpkin and gourd. Jack eats entirely too much pumpkin bread in the first ad, considering he's a pumpkin. Gourdo mistook him for an orange. See it here. Gourdo dreams dancing maracas in another ad, shown here. Jack wonders why he and Gourdo are being stared at. Is it their drinks or lack of pants? Find out here. Jack's face is carved out for Halloween, scaring Gourdo. Now when Jack drinks coffee, smoke rises through his eyes, along with the coffee. See it here. A jack-o-lantern carving demo is about to take place in the final ad, seen here. Unfortunately for Gourdo, a gourd will be used in the demo. Colle+McVoy created the campaign.
The California Milk Processor Board is launching its latest "Got Milk" campaign starring rock star White Gold. TV spots promote the "Battle for Milkquarious," a 20-minute rock opera about milk. Yes, you read that correctly: a rock opera about milk. It launches Oct. 5 online and chronicles White Gold's quest to save Milkquarious from a milk shortage. Like all rock operas, there's a villain, a love interest named Strawberry Summers, and a TV campaign leading up to the launch. One ad, seen here, features White Gold previewing his rock opera and encouraging California teens to recreate scenes from "Battle for Milkquarious" for a chance to win money for their high school's arts program. Another ad, "Jug Life," shows additional clips from "Milkquarious," which looks hysterical. Milk supplies are stolen and White Gold enlists the efforts of a strong sidekick to fight an evil villain and poofy creatures. See it here. If these ads don't quench your thirst, there's also a music video. It's a fight to see who has the bigger ego: White Gold or Strawberry Summers. Goodby, Silverstein and Partners created the campaign.
Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, a leprechaun, the tooth fairy, Big Foot, and a Diet Dr Pepper spokesman. What seems out of place? These fictional characters attend a meeting called the "I exist" support group, in a TV ad promoting Diet Dr Pepper. The diet soda tastes so great that it's hard to believe it's real. Even Santa Claus has a hard time believing. Watch the ad here, created by Deutsch LA. This ad reminded me of a holiday-themed ad for M&Ms where a meeting between Santa and red and yellow M&Ms ended with Santa and red M&M fainting over the shock of one another's existence. See it here.
Kiehl's launched a comic-themed Web site promoting its new Acai Damage-Repairing Skincare line. ExpressYourPOW allows users to write their own comic strip or single frame, and/or use copy provided by the site. The finished product can be shared via email, Facebook or Twitter. Once they've created a comic, Kiehl's loyalists can also learn more about the new product line. Colle+McVoy created the site.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority launched two TV spots this summer using two different brand themes. The first falls under the uber-popular "What happens here, stays here" umbrella and features a woman reporting a drop in Las Vegas tourism. Once she's off-air, viewers find that she's not wearing any pants, but a bikini bottom. Her suit top is quickly removed and she jumps into a pool surrounded by a crowd of partygoers. See the ad here. The next ad is a fictional holiday that makes Chinchilli Day look good. Shinwhack Day is a celebration of those olden times when men would vie for a maiden's hand in marriage by whacking each other in the shin. The first who cries, loses. Current generations celebrate by partying in Vegas. Watch the ad here. R&R Partners created the ads.
ATTIK created a print campaign for Scion tC sports coupe. The agency created a set of unique manifestos for the tC. "Tear it up, don't rip it off. Always zag when others zig. Become one of us by becoming none of us," reads one ad, seen here. Scion offers buyers more than 150 accessories to choose from, making the odds slim of two Scion owners having the exact same car.
Random iPhone app of the week: MasterCard launched its second iPhone app, called MasterCard Priceless Picks. The app provides users with more than 200,000 GPS-pinpointed deals and discounts for stores, restaurants and entertainment venues. People can also share their own Priceless Picks from their favorite restaurant, favorite concert venue or their favorite park. User Picks appear in round bubbles that are color-coded to represent a specific category, such as dining, shopping or travel, while MasterCard-selected offers appear as squares. Click here to download the free app.