USA TODAY will be reporting from the annual festival throughout the week.
NEW & NOTABLE
Campaign posters go carbonated
With all the campaign hype, it may already seem that the presidential candidates are being sold with as much salesmanship as Coke and Pepsi. Now the folks at Jones Soda have joined the two worlds with Campaign Cola.
For $14.99 per six pack at CampaignCola.com, Jones is offering you a choice of presidential colas with candidate photos on the labels: John McCain (Pure McCain Cola), Barack Obama (Yes We Can Cola) and beaten but unbowed Hillary Clinton (Capital Hillary Cola).
"What could be a better conversation starter than drinking from a soda that has your chosen candidate's face?" asks Seth Godwin, Jones marketing director.
California Roll over, Rover
Think of it as sushi for your dog — no chopsticks required. Pet Botanics Omega Treats, a hand-rolled dog snack that looks and smells like sushi, is just hitting pet store shelves. The basic ingredient is fish and, as at your favorite sushi restaurant, there are varieties to choose from, such as cod rolled with tuna, salmon or duck.
Good news for doggie dieters: They have just 9 calories each and are loaded with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. "They won't give your pooch a paunch like a lot of dog biscuits will," says Tony De Vos, president of treat maker Cardinal Laboratories.
For people who think of their dogs as dogs — and not family members — the $4.99 tab for a 6-ounce bag may be over-the-top, De Vos says. "But people do crazy things during tough times to take their minds off their troubles, and for under five bucks, it's a cheap thrill."
Take a shot at a new soft drink
If you don't care about politics, but want to vote for something, Mountain Dew will let you weigh in on which of three new flavors should survive. In Los Angeles, Dew-heads can even vote by firing paint balls at the options on a billboard the brand put up last week.
Less aggressive soft-drink fans can vote online at DEWmocracy.com for raspberry-citrus Voltage, strawberry-melon Supernova or wild berry Revolution. The flavors are now in stores nationally, but only one will get to stay. Dew will tally the billboard and Web votes and announce the winner in September.
A la carte in Newport Beach
When is a restaurant more than a restaurant? When it's A Restaurant.
That's the oh-so-sly new name for The Arches, a Newport Beach, Calif., institution since the 1920s. Stars from Humphrey Bogart to John Wayne were patrons.
What A-list names will be spotted at the new A Restaurant? It's too early to tell. But owners Tim and Liza Goodell have partnered with director McG (Charlie's Angel's) and singer Mark McGrath (of band Sugar Ray).
If you visit, bring the plastic. For wine alone, beverage director Tamira Clayton notes, there's a regular list (under $100) and a "Captain's List" ($100 and up).
Doctor endorsers are weak medicine
Note to Rx-focused marketers: Think twice before paying a doctor big bucks to endorse your brand in an ad. Three-fourths of consumers say a physician's appearance does not make the medicine seem more effective, according to a March phone survey by Rodale's Prevention, Men's Health and Women's Health magazines. Almost as many say it doesn't make the drug seem safer.