The Directors View: The Apprentice – episode 7

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We are now down to the last ten and it’s time to visit the USA to create and market a brand spanking new soft drink.

Judging by the latest court ruling over the pond that says, basically, it’s OK for Google to do what the hell it likes manipulating results, we think its fair game for our apprentices to lie about ingredients and health claims…….so get ready for the Big Apple drink, even if its small!

First up is Team Tenacity, headed up by Aussie Mark who brow-beats his way to the front of the team, including lawyers Lauren, Felipe, personal trainer Katie and angry footballer Daniel. After a suggestion by Lauren to combine water, fruit and vitamins, the team agree on Aqua Fusion, a pineapple flavoured drink that’s sounds like its apple, so they almost got it right!

In contrast HR & Brand Manager Bianca headed up Team Summit, aided by bad-boy James, Roisin, banker Sanjay, and nice lad Soloman. James continues on his sensible path (well some of the time) and comes up with a great name, Big Dog, spelt Daug. The American’s will love it! Another fruit flavoured water drink.

The next big task for the team leaders is to split the teams – product manufacture and logo/pack design in the Big L, that’s Luton by the way. The rest head to the bright lights in the Big A…..and this of course is where the lessons are learnt. Its never a good idea to put personal ambition (free holiday) or relationships (playing favourites with A over B) when you have a tough task to solve.

So it’s no surprise that Mark takes Lauren & Felipe as his holiday buddies, leaving Daniel to stew….and Bianca goes on holiday with the irksome but fun James & Soloman by her side….leaving behind the argumentative Sanjay and quiet Accountant Roisin…..decisions they may live to regret, we will see.

So, on the tasks themselves; Daniel and Mark on team Tenacity both criticise Lauren for not doing a lot – but she did have the original idea, appear in the advert and final pitch, so this smacks of game playing. Felipe rolls up his sleeves and get engrossed in directing, it’s a bland final product but does what is says on the tin. Sadly the same can’t be said in the final pitch, muffled by Lauren who surprisingly forgets her lines, and the final pack looks even more boring that the advert!

Over in team Summit, Bianca leads with a firm hand on the directing, which sadly meant all music was omitted creating a daug of an advert. But the name, pack design and digital signage all win through, especially when given some pitch power by James….they feel like the weeks worthy winners and indeed they are, as Sugar likes it too.

So against the odds Marks team finish up runners up, clearly caused by a lack-lustre pack design which holds back the whole campaign. In our view caused by the fact Mark wanted to travel to the USA rather than properly lead….so if the decision was left to us, he’d be in the firing line.
We predicted he’d bring back Katie (as for once Mark was getting compliments from Daniel for the good pitch) and Lauren for the aforementioned lack of effort. We almost called it right, Lauren and Daniel were back in the interrogation room.
Nick chirps up that Mark had done a good job, proving yet again the value of a bit of hobnobbing in business, but not surprisingly Lord Sugar opted to exit the lawyer Lauren…..and we know how much he dislikes lawyers.

So, not a verdict we’d agree with – much as we liked Mark, it seems unforgivable having two lawyers in a pitch and leaving the UK team largely ungoverned. So Mark got a holiday with his chums but it nearly cost him his place in the Apprentice process.

In the after show programme, Lauren came across well and Roisin seemed to be the public favourite to get into the final alongside Soloman…..not so far from our own verdict.

So our latest betting scores are:
Was                                                       Now
1:2 Favourite James                            Still our favourite 1:2
2:1 Solomon                                         Still 2:1
3:1 Roisin                                              Still 3:1 but clearly audience favourite
4:1 Katie                                                Still 4:1
5:1 Mark                                                Dropped to 6:1
6:1 Lauren                                            Fired
7:1 Felipe                                              Improved also to 6:1
8:1 Daniel                                             Down to 9:1
9:1  Sanjay                                            Still 9:1
10:1 Bianca                                           Improved to 6:1

About Stuart Haining

I have a strong passion for online strategy and disruptive technologies – but is pragmatic too, having been working with this online malarkey for 20+ years!

I’m Seriously Helpful but not always serious!

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