The Apprentice: Basic brands, abysmal adverts and poor pitches

The Apprentice

After the weekly phone call alerting candidates to be ready in 20 minutes, the taxis soon arrived and whisked them off to see Lord Sugar, Karren and Claude to find out the task for this week.

The task was simple – to create a brand, TV advert and digital screen in which the public can interact with, all for jeans made from Japanese denim. Yes, it may sound fairly straightforward but the teams could not have made the task more difficult for themselves if they tried.

The key for this task was to ensure that management, structure and skills were applied in the appropriate way – which both teams miserably failed to achieve.

Initial sparks from the girls’ team arose as Rebecca and Jessica fought for project manager. When finally allocating the role to Jessica, Rebecca’s concerned-looking expression longed to be a permanent feature of her appearance for the duration of this task, as she numerously declared that her skills lied in this task. As Jessica picked up on the role, it was clear that pressure was already beginning to mount.

Whilst the girls had Jessica as project manager, Mukai took the role for the boys’ team.

The boys’ brand name was ‘Day’ (Day After Yesterday) which was pretty much a name Mukai had created and wasn’t going to negotiate a change on, totally disregarding the boys’ first ideas.

Mukai’s lack of support for his team was further continued through his attitude shown towards Dillon on the phone, who was willing to share the sub-team’s plans and ideas. An analytic Claude watching from afar was disappointed in the behaviour of the project manager and stated that the conversation would have been vital.

Meanwhile, the girls had calculated their brand name and strap line – ‘Unclaimed’ with ‘claim your fit’ – bound to spark confusion. When in discussion, one of the girls became confused if the strap line was as we know it or if it was the line on the strap of the jeans – I can assure that many viewers’ head fell into their hands or they were tempted to change the channel at this point.

As Dillon wasted time leading his team to audition the models for their adverts, the girls team arrived at their shoot – without any jeans.

“So, you’re shooting your jean campaign without any jeans” Karren commented, exposing the girls’ stupidity. Although very humorous to watch as an audience, project manager, Jessica, was clearly feeling the pressure as the tears began to build and a moment to compose herself outside was advised by Karren.

As a model was finally sent to the boys’ shoot, they were still one model short so Courtney stepped in and good on him. Something to value about Courtney is that he is always up to do anything with no fuss, but hopefully the other candidates won’t take advantage and target this as a weakness in the forthcoming tasks.

Moving onto the digital posters. The girls had the lead on this one as their advert was interactive. However, even though the boys were meant to create an interactive advert also, their poor time management resulted in them only having time to produce a standard poster advert.

So, the next day arrived and the teams got to physically view their product packaging. My personal favourite was the girls’ design, but to be honest, both were pretty unimpressive for a bunch of ‘geniuses’.

It became clear that Karthik was beginning to grain on many of the boys and that he was definitely the catalyst for conflict and disruption. As they argued like little boys in the playground, JD attempted to shut him up.

The pitches were absolutely dreadful. Firstly, the girls presented a pitch that confused the receivers due to the fact that the different forms of advertising in which they used, didn’t work well together or with the brand they were trying to promote. A dysfunctional approach to the advertising meant that their luxury brand for women of around 25 years old, was not coming across clearly.

If that pitch wasn’t bad enough, the boys’ couldn’t have gone any worse. From project manager, Mukai, fluffing up his words from the moment he opened his mouth to introduce the pitch to JD slipping up on claims that the brand is unisex – it was terrible. Mukai’s arrogance and authority of project manager going to his head, reflects an example of how arrogance and over-confidence with an unwilling to work in a team, gets you nowhere in the world of business.

Unlike last week, a winning team was very difficult to call, simply due to the masses of faults made by both teams.

As they discussed the failures in the boardroom, Lord Sugar expressed his anger, “mad men? More like demented dimwits”. As he stated that he simply couldn’t allocate the winning title to neither team or have his name against such a travesty, there was no surprise in his decision.

As both teams go off to separate cafes, the conflict and arguments began to brew.

Once returning to the boardroom, Jessica brought Natalie and Alana back with her and Mukai brought JD and Karthik.

From the girls’ team, it was clear that Jessica had suffered the stress of the task, Alana and Jessica’s clash of personality was questioning the genuineness of Jessica bringing her back to the boardroom and finally Natalie just didn’t pull her weight. Unfortunately for Natalie, styling hair, makeup and cleaning are not qualities that Lord Sugar is looking for.

For the boys’ team, Mukai was an appalling and unsupportive project manager, JD was claimed to have not been productive and Karthik – we know loves to chuck his toys out the pram.

As the bickering evolved and the accusations began to fly across the room, it was expected that Lord Sugar would fire more than one candidate, but no.

Natalie was fired and the remaining candidates made an extremely lucky escape – especially “loose cannon”, Karthik.