Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The One That Got Away...

Do we really need to see Tom's underpants? And is it appropriate for an inventor and Apprentice contestant to wear Thomas the Tank Engine Y fronts?

Yes, another task at Apprentice World begins with an early morning phone call. "Meet Lord Sugar in five minutes... oh, hang on, is that Madame Fifi? No? Sorry, wrong number"

The task this week is advertising. An advertising campaign. Put together an advertising campaign. And show it to some advertising people. Who'll make a decision about which was the best advertising campaign. Did you get that the task is about advertising? Good. You'll need to remember that for later. Unlike the candidates.

The theme for the aforementioned advertising campaign is pet food. Melody came dressed as a zebra in the hope that they needed a zebra for the advert.

Vincent came up with the brilliant idea of having two friendly dogs eating their dinner together. Like Pals. So they'd call the dog food 'Pals'.

Ahem. Vincent? Vincent? Hello? Anyone in?

Jim's suggestion was 'Fur Play'. We think Jim's spent too much time on his own, late at night. Fur Play sounds like something you'd get from Ann Summers. It's pet food Jim, but not as we know it.

Edna further contributes to the team's collective intellect. "What kind of cat has fur that's quite long?" All of them, Edna.

Although, on second thoughts, why would Edna be suggesting putting curlers in a cat's hair? Is it because, like Melody in her zebra outfit, she wanted to be star of the advert?


Glenn announced that he is a fantastic Project Manager. In fact, he said that he's a catalyst. A CATalyst! Geddit? It's a play on words, a pun... it's a double entendre... oh never mind.

Jim suggests 'Everydog' and Vince pounces. He wagged his tail a little bit too. Jim said, "Good Vincie! Good boy!"

Vince loves the idea. The experts say you can't serve the same food to every dog, but that's not what Vince wants to hear. Tom doesn't even know that the experts said that (because Vince omitted that small detail) but he also advises not to go for a food for all dogs. Vince can't hear you. La la la la la la la.

Melody wants to focus on snacks. "Give your cat a break". What, give them a kit kat?

Having seen Tom's pants, the camera crew figure they'd even things up with a peek up Karen Brady's skirt. Yeah right, they were following the cat.

They say that the greatest inspiration can come from everyday things, and in the back of the car, Glenn is smacked in the face with a brilliant idea. Not by the girls, for a change.

"Cat's Eyes... Cat Size...!" It's aimed at fat cats - so don't tell Lord Sugarcane.

Hmm.. Cat Size? It certainly sounded fantastic in Glenn World.

"We like Lucky Fish"

"I don't like it because it's not my idea"

"But the focus group loved it"

"Sorry. Not my idea."

"But we ran the idea past some actual people"

"Yeah, and I thought of Cat Size all by myself, in my own head with my big ears and I'm great and it's my idea so it's a great idea. And I'm right. Because I'm great."

OK Glenn, you're the PM, so that must mean you're the boss. Glenn feels that his team need to be "put back in their place. When you're a manager, you deserve respect."

Zoe does a fabulous job of cutting off Glenn's pompous rambling. She's starting to shape up as a real contender.

Next, Glenn demonstrates his brilliant team management skills.

"Leon, you do the pitch"

"But I'm not comfortable doing a 20 minutes pitch"

"OK then, break it down. Just do 20 minutes instead."

On the film set, Natasha is showing some dogs how to run up and down a garden. Ellie adds her feedback, and Natasha acknowledges her in the way that only a pretentious, clueless person can. "Ellie, yeah, I'm going to, yeah, take on board, yeah, what you're saying, yeah. Yeah?"

So far, Vincent's team are all bought into the brand. Anyone could pitch it, they all demonstrate a sense of ownership. They like it. Vincent is actually doing a good job as PM!

In the blue corner, Glenn's team are complaining that Glenn's doing all the work himself. Leon's totally uncomfortable with the pitch, the team are utterly divided over the brand, and Glenn has rubbed everyone up the wrong way. Bad boy. In your bed.

So just on management performance, Glenn's in the firing line. But wait! A surprise twist in the débâcle! The advertising experts liked Glenn's advert the best!

Advert? Weren't they making pet food? Oh no, it turns out it was an a-d-v-e-r-t-i-s-i-n-g task. Did you realise that? We missed that too. Sneaky!

In the boardroom, Glenn explains his brand rationale. It's Cat Size. Like Cat's Eyes. But it's spelt differently. And 'see their light' is a pun, see. It's a play on words. Light as in not fat. Which means that 'their' is spelt wrong. Oh, never mind.

OK, Everydog. Who came up with the name? Vincent said it was a team brainstorming effort. Jim said, "Me! Me! It was me Lord Sugar! Me!"

Vincent's confused. The only thing he thinks you could criticise is their use of 'Every'. That's the whole brand positioning, then. Natasha doesn't like 'Every' any more. She thinks it might be a bit too general.

Erm, how do you get any more general than 'every'?

Sadly, the advertising weirdos, we mean experts, think that:

CatSize is clealy thought through and well packaged. It could go on the shelf right away. Although the advert was rubbish, the campaign as a whole was better executed. It's such a pity that the team know nothing about feline health, it all came about because Glenn liked his little pun.

Everydog had a good advert but the product concept was fundamentally flawed because you can't give the same dog food to every dog. As Vincent was told, several times. A great pity, because Vincent did a better management job than Glenn, and their product was thought through from the ground up, not just shoehorned to fit a catchy name. Oh wait, no, that's exactly what they did.

Unfortunately, this was not a task in producing the best pet food. This task was about producing the best advertising campaign.

Just like previous weeks' tasks, all of the heartache and misery could have been avoided if only the teams had listened to what they were told at the beginning.

So, team Vince, what went wrong?

"I'd just like to begin, your Holiness Lord Sugar Daddy, by saying that the team said I was a really good PM!"

Whose fault was the product? Didn't Jim claim the glory earlier, just like in a previous task?

"I came up with the name but not the product. It was a team brainstorming effort. I never said it was me. I didn't categorically say that. We all went with it."

However, once again, the final decision was based, not on the task, not on the campaign and certainly not on Vince's ability as PM. It all came down to the fact that Vince brought in who he saw as the two weakest competitors, figuring Jim would have blagged his was through the firing line. Sadly, the reverse was true. If he's had the balls to take Jim in with him and just kept his gob shut, Jim would have been waving from the taxi.

Ultimately, Vincent was not his own man. Jim didn't force Everydog down anyone's throats. Vincent failed to control Jim, and that was his downfall.

Jim's a very Lucky Fish... he's the one that got away.

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