Luke Owen on last night’s episode of The Apprentice 2012…
I remember a couple of years back, Radio 1 DJ Matt Edmundson proclaimed on his Apprentice video blog, “the fit one’s gooooooooone!” when one of the pretty candidates was fired. I didn’t quite do that yesterday (my girlfriend was in the room) but I did let out an internal Darth Vader style “NOOOOO” when Laura was fired from last night’s Apprentice. The fit one has indeed gone.
This week saw our team of “top business minds” attempt to sell graffiti style artwork. This would require them to meet with artists, get to know their work, strike up a relationship with them to act on their behalf and then sell their paintings. The task seemed simple enough and, to be honest, there were no major hiccups in the execution from either team. But that’s not to say they were flawless.
Team Sterling was led by Gabrielle (who they’ve all taken to calling Gabby it seems) who was voted for over Can’t Blink Steven, while Phoenix was led by Looks-Posh-But-Isn’t Tom. Both seemed like smart choices to be Project Managers given “Gabby’s” passion for all things creative and Tom’s pretentious knowledge of modern art. Jade looked like she wanted to step up her game after last week’s catastrophe while Adam took to the “fish out of water” role once again as his catchphrase has quickly become, “I don’t know nuffin bout all this mate.” After nine weeks of this competition, it seems to me that he ‘knows nuffin’ about a lot of things.
So our teams went off to meet these artists who are just as pretentious as I imagined them to be. “Gabby’s” team were attracted to a guy that did some (admittedly cool) sketch caricatures and a fella named Pure Evil (no, not Michael Bay) who they showed great enthusiasm for. However Team Tom also had their eye on Pure Evil, only their tactic was to try and impress him with his knowledge of art rather than asking questions about his creations – which just made him sound like a div. He sounded like the people who have been trying to talk to me about the Beastie Boys since Friday’s tragedy, who appear to have amassed all of their knowledge from skim-reading Wikipedia rather than being actual fans of the group. Not to spoil my Apprentice Advice for the week, but always try to sound interested in the item you’re buying rather than boasting about your knowledge of the sector it belongs to.
As suspected, Pure Evil went with “Gabby’s” team because they showed actual interest and enthusiasm, which meant Tom needed a second choice. After what felt like a life time of pausing and deliberating, he went with a fella who painted 12 foot canvases of 50s B-movie style film posters, whose average asking price was 10 grand. It was a very risky strategy (careful Azarh) but if they only sold one of his paintings, they would have the task in the bag.
The other part of this task saw our teams attempting to buy art for a business to try and earn extra cash. Tom’s team did a very good job of meeting with their prospective buyer, asking them questions, getting to know them and then treating them like royalty when they arrived for the installation. “Gabby’s” team however didn’t ask any good questions, didn’t come off as professional and then practically ignored them when they came to see the art. It was hilarious to see just how badly they treated these prospective business buyers when after half an hour of them being there Steven said, “oh, do you want a drink?”. They were so bad with their questions, they didn’t even ask how much they were willing to spend, something “Gabby” later hysterically tried to claim was a “tactical” manoeuvre.
Now, I’ve been quite mean to Adam over the last couple of weeks (even the week I missed, I was just mean to him at home) but he really shone in this task during the sales phase. It was at times like this that you can see just how good he can be. On top of that, he never uses the “fish out of water” as an excuse for being rubbish, he just likes to lay out that he doesn’t know a lot but is willing to throw himself in and learn about it. Fair play to the man. Lovely Laura on the other hand was not quite so good by adopting the soft approach leading to a very poor showing in terms of sales. On the other team, they appeared to be just an average bunch who sort of sold well but didn’t do all that well but might have sold enough but also might not have etc.
In the Board Room however, the figures showed a different story. While “Gabby’s” team didn’t get a buy from their business contact (I’ll wait while you pick up your socks that have just blown off in surprise) they sold well over 10 grand in floor sales. Team Tom did get a buy from their business partner, but their floor sales didn’t back them up and they lost by about £130. I can’t give you an exact figure, but this really does seem like the 100th week on this series of The Apprentice where the wrong team has somehow won. Tom’s team did everything right – they just didn’t have the right product. However the winning team did seem to get the naffest winning team prize in the history of The Apprentice as they were “treated” to a white wall they could throw paint at. Rubbish. At least at the Loser Café (which my girlfriend calls, “Sad Face Café”) you can get a cup of tea. With Adam not being brought back in for obvious reasons (see the above paragraph), it was Jade and Lovely Laura that joined Tom in the final three. All credit to Tom, he admitted his 2 errors were key in the failure of the task and he took the blame for that. He took a risk with the expensive paintings and it didn’t pay off. But Lovely Laura was at the forefront of the blame for getting the least amount of sales on the day and because Lord Sugar didn’t see much else in her. Because of that, she was given the Finger Point of Doom and was sent to the unemployment line.
In all fairness, it was probably the right decision. Despite having an annoying voice, Jade did put in a good showing on this task, Adam was never going to be in the final three let alone get fired and firing Tom for taking a risk would have been unfair. Lovely Laura claimed to be a great salesman but didn’t show that on this task (or the series) and because Adam had done so well, she couldn’t rely on the “out of comfort zone” argument that many have used in the past. Shame really.
Next Week: The teams rebrand some English wine, which means we’ll be treated to another week of pretentious nonsense from Tom. Yippie.
Apprentice Advice of the week: Taking a risk is not a bad thing, but always show passion for what you are trying to sell so you don’t have to resort to the risk.
Quote of the Week: “You’re not really the Turner Prize are you, more like the Turnip Prize” – Lord Sugar in a line I’m sure he was going to use on Adam regardless of how well he performed.
Top Tweet of the Week: “Hello, is that Pure Evil?” It shows what humourless chesneys they are in #theapprentice that he kept a straight face when saying that. – @helenlewis
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.