Luke Owen on last night’s episode of The Apprentice 2012…
Rolling around into week 3 of the process and things are heating up (not too much or Duane may choke). The interesting thing about this stage is that the split of “boys team” and “girls team” goes out the window and the teams get mixed up – the way it should be from the start really. Oh, and I’m starting to learn people’s names.
This week’s task was a saucy one and neither team could afford to lose their bottle. Okay I’ll stop that now. The task was to create a new condiment to sell to the general public and retailers. In order to shake things up (and even out the teams now we’re two girls down), Katie joined Team Phoenix and Duane and Nick moved over to Team Loser, I mean Team Sterling. Team Phoenix was certainly on the gracious side when welcoming Katie into their little tribe. Adam was especially welcoming: “Welcome to Team Phoenix. We do things a little different around here. Like winning”.
Before they could cut the mustard, they had to pick Project Managers and it was Katie who felt she had something to prove as she stepped into the role. Adam was once again looking out for her best interests by essentially insinuating she may not be able to handle this many men. Good to see chivalry is alive and well in 2012. On Team Sterling it was new boy Duane that stepped up to the plate hot off the success of last week’s impressive bin gadget. While Duane was quite the willing candidate, I found it surprising to see that Catherine Tate, sorry Jane, didn’t put herself forward considering she is the co-founder of a food manufacturing company. On top of that, she wasn’t exactly in Lord Sugar’s good books after last week’s miserable task so this would have been the ideal time to show that he made the right decision in not firing her last week. But instead she decided to play on the sidelines and shake her head at things unhelpfully.
For Team Phoenix, it was the common table sauce that could appeal to the mass market while Sterling opted for a chutney – something that Naysayer Jane didn’t think was a wise move in a play that came straight from the, “if we lose I can say, ‘I told you so’ in the boardroom” book. From the get go, it seemed that Phoenix was heading in the right direction, I mean what could go wrong with making a simple table sauce?
Well quite a lot apparently. The production team headed up by Wrestler Ricky Martin fell victim to the ‘too many cooks’ cliché as they messed up the mixture not knowing who put what in where and why. Furthermore, they destroyed one of the batches which meant they would have to bump up the price to make up for their costs and created something that looked like a reject from a George A. Romero movie. A complete balls up really – but nothing compared to the “creative” team. I use “creative team” as a term incredibly loosely because if what they came up with could pass for “creative” then I may quit my job tomorrow and start up a company drawing logos on MS Paint. They decided to call the sauce “Bellissimo” despite not actually knowing what it means and then drew up a bottle design that was a Comic Sans font short of being Publisher level amateur. Oh, and they misspelled Bellissimo.
In the other kitchen, Duane went all out with his chilli chutney by making something that was so spicy it nearly killed him. This meant that their first batch couldn’t be sent to their sales team who had to pitch a product to a retailer without actually having a product to pitch. Eventually though they got the chutney right and produced something that actually looked pretty tasty. With their condiments in place, it was off to sell for the following day.
To cut a long story short, Team Phoenix sold well on the streets but the Sub Team led by Michael struggled to sell the sauce because no shops would stock a product with a misspelt label. Team Sterling on the other hand seemed to enjoy a bit more success on both fronts – but not a massive amount. One of the key moments came when Michael wouldn’t sell to a retailer because they offered a price that was 4 pence lower than what he wanted. It was clear from this moment that Michael was a little out of his depth on this task and the pressure really got to him. So much so that the team he was supposedly leading usurped him and took on the next pitch without any input from him. While the other team cleared their stock, Michael’s team had some bottles left over. Not a good effort from the sub team.
Back in the boardroom, everyone was their usual chummy selves except for Jane would have to be forced into giving Duane any praise. But she would have to pat him on the back soon enough as his team came in the winners with a profit number that doubled their competition. It seemed that the lack of product to sell really hurt Phoenix’s chances of winning this week which means that Katie has become the official loser of this competition. While the winners had a day driving flash cars through water features, Katie took her third trip to the loser cafe where only losers go because they lose at life. Sadly enough there was no Bellissimo available in the cafe.
The finger of blame was firstly thrown to Michael and his lack of sales before landing on Ricky Martin’s lack of leadership in the kitchen. With both of them being brought back into the boardroom, it seemed a dead cert that Michael was going home in the taxi cab of shame. In an odd tactic, he admitted that he wasn’t a very good seller and that it wasn’t one of his strong points – something that is considered to be quite the skill in this environment. And even though Lord Sugar placed the blame of the task squarely on Ricky Martin’ shoulders, it was Michael who felt the wrath of the finger point of doom and became the first male to leave the process.
Overall, it was the right choice. Michael Copp turned out to be not much Copp at all. He coasted by during the first two tasks and as soon as he was given something that actually required work he buckled like a belt. I think Ricky Martin put in a good showing here and his wrestling background means that he will be a joy to watch in the boardroom. Katie seemed to get out of this one unscathed despite being a three time cafe visitor and she should be counting her lucky charms. She didn’t lead very well and her communication skills to her sub teams left a lot to be desired. She also seems to think that a white label with black text and a picture of a red pepper is “magic”. If that was the case they should put her in charge of the next Harry Potter movies as she’ll save them a fortune.
Duane really showed his worth in this episode and despite what Jane will tell you, he did a really good job as Project Manager. No one else from his team really shined through apart from Nick who looks like he may be a handy man to have in your sales team. But we still need to cut out some of the weaker candidates before we can start to cast bets on who might come out the winner of this series.
If you’re a member of the Twitterverse, I tend to tweet my thoughts throughout the show – you can follow me @CGLuke_O
Apprentice Advice: Don’t say you’re not a good seller on a show where that is held as quite a high accolade.
Quote of the Week: “The Chutney Maker has spoken!” – Nick
Top Tweet of the Show: Now blokes, we’ve got a girlie on the team so let’s make her project manager then blame her when we lose… #bbcapprentice – @glhunt31
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.