Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Urbon warrior

As soon as Stella had the inspirational idea to call her drink, 'Urbon', we said, "She's just won it". And Dara said that same thing in the post-final autopsy.

Unfortunately, Stella didn't exactly have the idea all by herself. It appeared to be closely related to the one that Joanne had, about five seconds before Stella thought of it.

Ah well, at this stage of the game, it's no longer about winning. It's all about making sure your manager wins.

Finally, The Apprentice has become a model of corporate life. It's no longer every man for himself, fighting over every sales commission and good idea. Now, every good idea belongs to the boss and all that matters is being on the winning team so that your boss can get the credit and the job that they want.

Maybe that's why Stella got the job?

Although she was often criticised for her corporate starchiness, we think that Lord Sugar is being a bit optimistic if he thinks that Amsburger is not a corporate empire. Yes, he likes innovative people, who doesn't? And we've never met anyone yet who didn't say that their company is entrepreneurial and different and creative and unique. But make no mistake, Alan Michael Sugar Trading and its collected subsidiaries is a big company, and that means big company culture. Maybe not as rigid as a Japanese bank, but it still has its own ingrained culture.

Alan was hardly the model of entrepreneurial flair during Stella's interview. His jokes were awful, his manner flat and his insights shallow. Maybe he couldn't be bothered to make the effort, now that his political career is on the up. Or maybe he just didn't like it when Dara turned his back on him. It was a strange seating arrangement, though.

Here are the main points of the rival's attempts to win their dream TV career, erm, we mean job.

Name Cube, no, PrismUrbon
Looks like After shaveOlive oil
Sounds likeA new ToyotaA factory made into a block of flats
Tastes likeCheap perfumeSick
AdvertCheesy man thanks the Lord that the drink has 3 ingredientsScooby and Shaggy buy Daphne and Velma a drink
Dance routineNine ladies dancingTen lords a-leaping
Pitch Vibrant and evocativePosh booze for city folk
Punchline Reflects every side of youVote for me!
Selling pointLooks good on the barCan't tell if it's for girls or boys
Downside The bottle could kill youCan't tell if it's for girls or boys

Yes, as soon as Stella or Joanne or somebody came up with the name, Urbon was the winner. With a good name, everything else follows. Whereas Chris was trying desperately to shoehorn everything together, all because a man in an off licence didn't like the name 'Cube'

Chris was upset that Liz and Slap-happy came back with a pink drink, and yes, we do think that clear would have been nice, but it would also have made the bottle look nondescript on a bar shelf, and that was the one redeeming feature of the product. However, boys don't drink pink, regardless of what Liz says. She was a top salesperson, remember?

Besides, Chris wanted pomegranate flavour, and pomegranates are, well, pink.

Who should have won? It makes no difference really. Alan Sugar as good as made Chris a job offer on live TV. It reminded us of last year's final when the runner-up, Kate Walsh, claimed that Sir Alan Sugar wanted to hire her too but BBC red tape wouldn't let him. Those nasty bureaucrats.

Adrian Chiles interviewed Sir Alan about his decision, who said:

'Kate will be fine, I have no concerns about Kate, and I've given her my private email address and my phone number and told her that she can call me 24/7 if she needs any advice'

24/7? How nice for her. Honestly, if you do want to give out your private contact details to young girls, don't announce the fact on live national TV.

And don't forget that Kate had a brief romance with one of the other contestants, just to make sure that she was the cat amongst the pigeons in the penthouse.

As Adrian Chiles says in his blog, "she wasn't mourning for him once he'd left, was she?".

So what did Kate get out of being runner-up? Maximum publicity, Sir Alan Sugar's private email address and of course she doesn't actually have to work for him (as the winner does). All of the benefits of being on the show with none of the downsides.

What's Kate doing now? You remember Kate, the gobby Brummie who had the fling with Phil the estate agent from Newcastle in order to further her chances. Last we heard, she's one of the hosts on some TV chat show or other.

Whereas the winner? Go on, ten points if you can remember who won last year. No? Yasmina. Still not ring a bell? She works for Amscreen, selling televisions to doctors. Pregnant by a work colleague, apparently. Father had 3 wives at the same time, apparently. She worked alongside previous winner Lee McQueen. No? He just left to become a self employed sales trainer and gob on a stick.

Once again, The Apprentice is far closer to CassetteBoy's parody than to real life. The contestants really are there to further some sort of TV career. Get your mug on TV, play the game, answer the tiebreaker and take part in the celebrity showdown.

Stella now works for Viglen. We hope she's very happy as a product manager. What is this wonderful opportunity? It means that she looks after the marketing for new computers. She orders brochures, sets prices, organises trade shows, gives presentations to the sales teams, answers technical questions. That kind of thing. A far cry from creating a premium alcoholic drink for the over 25 market. Or buying truffles in Knightsbridge.

However, Chris has something far more valuable - a job offer, made live on national TV, from Lord Sugar himself. Is anyone going to turn Chris away now?

The only thing that Chris has to worry about now is deciding where he wants to work.

It has turned out, once again, that every cloud has a sugared lining.

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