For this week's challenge, Apex (the women's team) and Mosaic (the men's team) were asked to create the most effective promotion for Procter & Gamble's new Crest Vanilla Mint flavored toothpaste. For this task, each team was given a jumbo budget of $50,000 and 20,000 tubes of toothpaste (800 cases at 25 per case) ... but to whom much is given, much is expected.
Mosaic, led by law student Kevin Allen, ended up trying to organize a challenge that would award a successful participant a $1 million payday (if he or she could overcome 200-to-1 odds). The payoff would be covered by insurance. However, at 2:30 AM, Mosaic found out that the insurer's lawyers refused to approve coverage. Instead, Mosaic was forced to rely on three $5,000 giveaways and an assortment of circus acts to draw "buzz" for Vanilla Mint Crest.
Apex, down to only women again after last week's boot of attorney Brad Cohen, made former P&G brand manager Elizabeth Jarosz project manager and secured NY Mets catcher (and future Hall of Famer) Mike Piazza for one hour in return for a $20,000 appearance fee. In return, Piazza agreed to brush his teeth at the event, and he signed toothpaste boxes as well. In an added bonus for Apex and P&G, he said that he's brushed with Crest all his life and has never had a cavity. Just how much was it worth to P&G to have Mike Piazza say that on one of the highest-rated shows on TV?
However, Apex ran into two significant problems. First, Stacie underestimated the time and equipment needed to move the 800 (plus 34 for good measure) cases to the giveaway. Second, supposed marketing executive Maria Boren found out that the printers she planned to use to produce the event fliers couldn't quote her a price until 7 AM, which made the budget manager, venture capitalist Ivana Ma, nervous.
As it turned out, although Apex's promotion with Mike Piazza was a huge success, the printing cost of the fliers (which Maria assured Ivana would not be over $1,800) included a huge overtime premium, raising the cost to $6,950 and putting Apex $5,000 over its $50,000 budget. Although the P&G executives thought that Apex's promotion was superior, Mosaic was awarded the victory due to the cost overrun.
In the boardroom, Elizabeth chose Maria and Stacie to join her on the chopping block. Donald Trump asked why Ivana wasn't there, since she had ultimate budget responsibility, instead of Stacie. Maria said that, after Stacie's behavior in the first task, the other women had become afraid that Stacie was schizophenic. Elizabeth agreed that Stacie's behavior was odd.
To see if this was just smoke from Maria to save herself (since it appeared clear that Maria was dead meat otherwise, although Carolyn, in typical "mean girl" fashion, also trashed Elizabeth), Trump had all of the other members of Apex brought back to the boardroom. They agreed that Stacie might be more suited to the role of Freddy Krueger than to the role of The Apprentice, and Trump (perhaps feeling that he'd already dodged one bullet with last season's problems with Omarosa) immediately fired "loose cannon" Stacie.
Next week's fourth episode promises the return of Apprentice 1 winner Bill Rancic. Maybe he can plug his new book. However, a more interesting story might be to explain why the street person helper was edited out of this week's show. Could it be due to sponsor pressure from P&G?