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Coffee Jolts Danny off The Apprentice

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Rules are rules, and even Donald Trump has to follow them.

“Michael was terrible but Michael is exempt,” Trump announced on Thursday night’s episode of The Apprentice. Saying he had to go by the rules, the boss then bellowed, “Danny, you’re fired.”

The street-smart Net Worth team claimed victory over the book-smart Magna. The ousted Danny Kastner, 39 – the Boston-based CEO of POPstick, a digital media and technology firm – had been seen as an early standout in the first two episodes.

So, what went wrong? Thursday s episode began with Danny rallying his teammates, especially Verna, whose spirits were so low that on the previous week’s show she packed her bags and had to be retrieved back into the game. This week, Verna again packed up and left, for good.

Meanwhile, the assigned task was to develop and execute a $75,000 marketing campaign for Nescafé Taster’s Choice. The winner, as judged by two Nescafe executives, would be whichever team created the biggest buzz.

Citing his creativity and confidence, Bren nominated Danny as Magna project manager. Michael, who was exempt from being fired because he was the winning team’s leader in the last episode, came up with the notion of using sexy European models to sell coffee. Erin thought Michael’s idea would turn off women customers, and even cheerful Danny lost patience with Michael.

Among Net Worth, Angie was project manager and sold the group on an All-American Taster’s Choice campaign with a patriotic theme in which “You have a choice.” Chris also suggested that the team giveaway thousands of dollars to feed the buzz.

Meanwhile, Danny waffled early, remaining undecided on whether Magna should hire an event planner, whose asking price was $47,000 – nearly two thirds of the budget. Finally, Danny put it to a vote, which passed unanimously, except for Stephanie, and this prompted Danny to call her irresponsible.

Bren then suggested that Magna give away iPods, because she’d observed so many New Yorkers listening to them while drinking coffee. Michael still insisted on using beautiful women.

On event day, the members of Net Worth dispensed flyers and touted their $10,000 giveaway amid red, white and blue decorations in Union Square. The buzz they created was loud and festive. Magna gave away some iPods.

As judged by the Nescafe executives, Magna succeeded at delivering the “premium brand” message but failed to promote a theme that made sense.

Net Worth, on the other hand, got people to sample the product and also offered hot and cold coffee, taking the product to a new level. The patriotic theme also proved a hit.