The Apprentice: Selling Mayfair for a Fiver

Rising early as always to meet aboard HMS Belfast, the candidates were briefed on the simple task of designing a board game and selling 150 units to retailers for as much profit as they can within 48 hours.

Immediately every candidate tried to back away from becoming project manager with various excuses. Tenacity didn’t so much as elect Pamela as throw her under the bus, and she uncertainly accepted the PM role. Over with Summit, James knew he had to put himself on the line to win over Lord Sugar and put himself forward.

A less than inspiring brainstorming session gave us Lauren’s “modern” shadow puppet idea before Tenacity settled on the idea of taking online dating offline and turning it into a board game. Summit had their idea for an educational geography based game almost straight away, which Roisin ran with and did a great job of designing.

Market research for Tenacity didn’t seem to agree with Pamela’s relationship theme, saying that it may come across as sleazy. Lauren and Daniel’s team reported their findings back to Pamela, only for her to make the “executive decision” to completely ignore them, which is impressive for someone who listed in her audition the number one skill a good leader should have being the ability to listen.

Summit spoke to adults and young children alike and continued to gain positivity towards their game GeoKnow, however stemming from the photo shoot James and Bianca were having issues of their own which all seemed to come down to the fact that they both like to talk a lot.

Over at Tenacity’s photo shoot, Mark claimed the finished image to be “the best photo I’ve ever seen” and all seemed very happy with their shot of a very plain background with a couple of props featuring a man and woman looking incredibly awkward, and Felipe’s arm. It’s no surprise that the other half of the team, particularly Pamela, were not impressed. Whilst the photo shoots were taking place, the rest of the teams put final touches to their games and Daniel took on the task of writing question cards.

When the games arrived, Summit had fun playing, despite James’ complete miscomprehension of the game, whilst Tenacity were less than impressed with Daniel’s relationship knowledge. I think that Daniel either knew that the cards were stereotypical and would cause offense and wrote them this way on purpose because he didn’t like the concept and wanted to place the blame on Pamela, or he genuinely has no understanding of women and really is destined to be single forever.

Example of a Relationship Guru question: What food do women like the least?
A) pizza
B) carrots
C) chicken salad

I mean, really, Daniel?

And so came the time to sell. Both teams visited Toys R Us and Waterstones to pitch their games. Summit did well with both and made good sales, despite James shushing Roisin during negotiations, whilst Relationship Guru did not do well at Waterstones, as the stereotypical nature of the questions would no doubt cause offense to potential customers. Toys R Us were a little more interested, but this was due to Mark’s fun and humorous spin on the game.

Mark continued to prove his selling skills, managing to shift more and more units of the game to other retailers, whilst Daniel’s half of the team did not do so well.

Summit meanwhile were busy agreeing to exclusivity within the Hampstead postcode with a retailer, which caused Bianca to think “oh maybe I can try that too”, leading to an exclusivity deal being made for the whole Borough of Westminster (coincidentally where Waterstones is also located) for the sake of only 6 units. This of course was a massive oversight and a huge hit, and although Solomon still made a sale at Waterstones, it was at a cut price due to the inability to sell the game within that store.

Mark’s ability to sell Relationship Guru despite the fact that it is honestly a rubbish game and Bianca’s very silly mistake meant that the verdict in the board room could have gone either way, however the fact that Summit sold all of their units at a higher price meant that they made twice as much money as Tenacity.

The treat for Summit was some quality time shooting penalties at David Seaman, whilst in the Bridge Cafe Pamela turned on Daniel and Lauren, which we all saw coming.

In the end Daniel was let off with a stern talking to and the promise that he is on his absolute last warning. Lauren really thought she was going home as Lord Sugar told her how he doesn’t think she’s a “go getter” and she has not put herself forward enough. But Pamela was the one with the famous finger pointed at her this week, as the concept she so stubbornly stuck by was the cause of failure for the task.

The right decision was made this week as always, although I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for Pamela as she was thrust into being PM. However that’s the nature of the Apprentice; just one error can be a candidate’s downfall. There’s a lot of big promises for next week, particularly from Daniel, and I can’t wait to see if he’ll be next to fall down.

Cara Lack