Monotony is slowly but surely taking the edge off this season of the Apprentice. The task this week came as no surprise to anyone; develop a campaign to raise awareness of British produce – this week it was fizzy alcoholic beverages. Nothing new under sun, the teams split up to do some market research and develop their online marketing approach.
I take my hat off of to Adam who once again wasn’t afraid of admitting his incompetence in the subject matter. The question is how far honesty about your shortcomings can actually take you. In this episode he had the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine pedagogically explained to him by 23-year old wine connoisseur and project manager Tom. Seemingly understanding the significant distinction he declared: “Ah, it’s a brand name, like Hoover. Hoover’s a vacuum cleaner but they call it a hoover. I get it”. Oh dear.
I watched with limited enthusiasm as the teams put together yet another disastrous advertisement film for their websites. Either tacky or boring seems to be the only way for the candidates who over and over again reaffirm the stereotype about business people lacking creativity or ability to think outside the box. The industry experts went from passing around a contagious yawn to exchanging looks of disbelief as Ricky’s team presented the ad devised by Jenna and Stephen. Mindblowingly tasteless, it had Lord Sugar asking ‘Who’s responsible for this piece of rubbish?’
If it were up to me, both Jenna and Stephen would have been out of this process a long time ago. But it was Jenna, “famed” for her squeaking voice and expertise in beauty products, who left last night. Stephen remains a mystery. Why is he still there?! Week after week we see him, dressed in a tasteless shiny suit, delivering terrible ideas, and – worst of all – getting away with it.
It’s getting to a stage where the competition between the candidates – who are facing only three more weeks before the end of this process – is getting fiercer. And for the sake of fairness, or at least in the interest of maintaining some sort of credibility as a talent show, he really ought to leave next.
But this week’s Apprentice lesson was simply about how not to manage a project. Ricky and Tom both failed to supervise and deliver on the most important aspect of selling their idea: the ad. Leaving it up to the candidates who have so far proven to possess less charisma than cheap office furniture was just bad project management. Both team leaders instead took the opportunity to get sloshed on Lord Sugar’s expense. Rather unimpressive.