So aside from the mostly usual effects, like Maserati lease deals, I tend get quite a few weird ads on Jalopnik. They range from private jet services to $9M penthouses in Manhattan. And that’s just today! Maybe it’s not just me but it’s sort of funny really.

(Yes, I have Jalopnik whitelisted on adblock, if you’re wondering.)

This is new though. For the first time in my 20+ years on the internet I clicked on an ad. Yes it sounds too good to be true: A free dinner on Lexus’s dime. (And a chance to drive the new LS, mind you.)

Now I’ve had a few free meals at events hosted by automakers before, but they were all by-invitation-only and were sent through dealerships I’d bought cars form. BMW has been especially generous to me, in spite of their dealers generally being the worst. But to see something like this as a sidebar ad is sort of mind boggling.

Here is the website it directs to: http://www.dinewithls.com/jardiniere.php

It seems to be unlisted (or at least not optimized) for search engines. The email at the bottom of the page is for the RGM Group, which seems very real, and very much like the kind of group that would organize an event like this. Whois lookup shows the domain belonging to Luxemont LLC, being registered to a Rob Gautereaux. These are associated with some weird luxury experience blog. A little strange but not totally out of line I suppose.

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The only thing left is the Terms and Conditions required to sign up, which are surprisingly short. The meat of it is this:

I hereby grant to San Francisco Lexus Dealers Association, a division of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc., RGM Group Enterprises LLC, Team One, a division of Saatchi & Saatchi North America, Inc., Poggled, Inc. DBA Tagkast and their affiliates, subsidiaries, legal representatives, assigns and licensees the irrevocable and unrestricted right to take, use and publish photographs of me and use my name and likeness for editorial trade, advertising and any other purpose in the context of community decency standards and in any manner and medium; and to alter the same without restriction.

I’m honestly not too worried about that. I don’t see anything in there about them sharing my information, at least.

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The restaurant, Jardinière, does appear to have no reservations on Opentable the day of the event, so all evidence is suggesting this isn’t a scam.

Now the trail almost goes cold except I found this review for Mockingbird in Oakland where the patron says they were there at a Lexus Dine with LS event. Guy has over 900 reviews on Yelp so that does check out.

Perhaps this is a legitimate way to get a free dinner.

Now maybe once I turn over my name, email, phone, and zip code to these people they’ll have some sort of screening process to determine if I’m worthy of their free dinner. If that’s the case, I’m not going to beg. As a recent S-Class buyer, I have no interest in downgrading to a V6 anyway.

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So, what do you all think?