The Apprentice – Episode 7 – Car Crash TV | The Chameleon Guide
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The Apprentice – Episode 7 – Car Crash TV

This week The Apprentice task was an old favourite – the marketing of a new product. In this case two cars to launch.

The teams had to create a brand, a TV advert and a digital advert for the London Underground which they then had to pitch to an advertising agency. The best campaign won.

Poor Charles – always the bridesmaid, never the PM, yet again put himself up for leading Vitality and yet again was completely ignored in favour of Michaela. I think he’s put himself up for the role in every episode so far and every time it’s like he’s never spoken. Though in theory, Anisa, who also put herself up for the role should have been the perfect choice given her background of branding and PR. But, as ever, logic did not prevail and Michaela got the gig.

Over on Graphene James put himself up for the role, on the rather tenuous basis that he’d run a car washing service when he were a lad!

They both chose good target markets. Vitality decided to target women under the age of 25 and went for an aspirational brand of Miami – taking you to new and exotic places.  Graphene, on Bushra’s suggestion thought their car would suit the family market.

And there the good sense came to a crashing halt.  They came up with the name Expando.  Based on the premise the car allowed for an expansion of your family. *coughs*  The reality is Expando sounds more like maternity wear, or clothing that you might want to buy at Christmas.  Expanding waist line? Now, especially for you, clothes that grow with you.

The teams split off to create either the TV ad or the digital ad. Now, I don’t know if it’s a fault of the way the task is organised, or poor communication between the team members, but they always trip up at this point and end up with completely different messaging.

Michaela had Jade and Andrew on her TV ad team but pretty much dismissed Andrew from any of the decision-making on the assumption he wasn’t the target market, so what would he know. He didn’t help himself by suggesting that in the advert the lady driver could use the assisted parking function whilst putting on her lipstick. It seems, you can’t take the lad out of Andrew. I’m going to rename him Andrew B’lad’y.

Despite the fact that the branding team were supposed to be coming up with the name, Michaela insisted on Miami and rather aggressively overrode any objections from the branding team of Sarah, Anisa and Charles.

Over at Graphene things were going less well. They decided they wanted to showcase the modernity of the car by placing it in a quaint village setting. Unfortunately for them when they chose the Norman village as their setting, they hadn’t realised that it was actually a reenactment village. Replete with a man hanging from a gallows! A suggestion of a strapline ‘Conquer life’ would actually at least been an amusing nod to the medieval era. Certainly a lot better than ‘different day, same car’. *yawns*.

Sajan, head of filming for Graphene, fancied himself as ‘creative’ and a film director and had to try and make the most of the sow’s ear.  Question – couldn’t they have gone and found a different location? Elizabeth, however, had very clear and definite opinions about what the scenario should be, who should be the actors (her) and what the music should be. She essentially completely took over. And yet again people listened to her – what is this magic spell she weaves on them? They introduced the ‘comedic’ element of her chasing the hens away before driving off. Another Elizabethan idea.

Unfortunately, this advert bore absolutely no relation to the digital advert the sub team were creating. I’m not even sure I really understood what they were trying to achieve with outsize kids’ alphapbet blocks and then some other stuff that was so unmemorable I can’t share it with you.

At least the TV advert for Vitality was on point. It did exactly what it said on the tin. And they included lots of the features and the benefits of the car in the voiceover. It was bright and upbeat and really suited the target market of young, ambitious women. Their strapline of ‘Move forward, move fast, move free’, whilst catchy, tripped them up in the pitch as using the word fast can never be used for car sales, what with highway code being hot on speed limits.

Sadly though, it also didn’t match very well to the digital advert .

Having launched the ads on the tube, the teams got to ask people what they thought of the advert.

Graphene’s was so unmemorable that most people didn’t remember it though one person recalled the name.

Rather disastrously for Vitality, their advert, which consisted of a bicycle (why use a bike when you could drive a car to get you to better places faster?) and then what looked like either a competition to win a trip to Miami or a car rental service.  And this is the feedback they got – other than one person who thought it might be an advert for a bicycle!

Then the teams had to prepare for their pitches and work out how to knit the two mismatched ads together. Michaela, despite her crippling lack of confidence decided she would do part of the pitch despite Anisa and Sarah trying to persuade her she shouldn’t do it.

And it looked like they may have been right to try and dissuade her as she stood there dumbly for what felt like a buttock clenching eternity. But once she started, she was articulate and handled herself very well.  Anisa was brilliant in the pitch, but for all the wrong reasons. When asked about the feedback for the tube advert, she was challenged about the car rental and bicycle sales aspect. Rather than trying to bulls*it her way out of it, she cheerfully agreed with the ad agency. To howls of ‘take her down’ from the non pitching team watching from a different room. I loved her for her honesty. She probably should have followed it up with the steps they would take to rectify the situation. I don’t think it particularly harmed the overall outcome – I suspect it may have endeared her to the agency.

Sadly Graphene fared somewhat worse and got mauled from every angle – rubbish TV ad, terrible strapline and a digital advert which bore absolutely no relation to a Norman village settlement circa the 5th century! Elizabeth cunningly swerved the question about the mismatch between the ads by handing the question neatly over to Bushra who stood there gasping like a goldfish out of water.

The Boardroom

It will come as no surprise that Vitality won the task hands’ down.

The agency were baffled by Graphene’s name, the modern car in a medieval setting and a digital advert that had no link to the TV advert. Nil points all round.

And so began the blamestorming session with everyone pointing the finger at everyone else. Joanna was blamed for choosing the ridiculous name and Bushra was particularly vicious about it. Harrison got blamed for coming up with the lacklustre strapline. Who then backtracked blaming the others for agreeing to it, when he clearly isn’t creative. James was blamed for being a weak PM and not having any control of any aspect of the task. Sajan was blamed for creating a rubbish TV ad and Elizabeth was blamed for pretty much everything else.

James chose Sajan and Joanna to face the firing squad. But in a shock twist, HRH decided to also bring Elizabeth back in as she was so instrumental in the disastrous advert.

Lord Sugar’s summation covered James’ being persuaded into poor decisions and Joanna for being full of excuses and taking no responsibility. Elizabeth was accused of being a control freak (yes) and Sajan slammed for not being creative, otherwise he would have made a better job of a poor location.

Elizabeth insisted she was forceful rather than disruptive and Joanna tried the ‘I’m the youngest but do the most stuff’. I’d like a quick aside here on Joanna’s eyebrows – they are veering into the comedic, seeming to get bigger, more beetly and more blue as the weeks go by. I have written a previous blog on the distracting characteristics of the comedic eyebrow – she needs to beware.

But it was Sajan who went – Lord Sugar hadn’t seen enough from him to believe he had what it took.

I waited for a second firing as Lord Sugar said he had more candidates left than tasks, but he seems to be going a bit soft as he let the rest off. But said there would be no more warnings…

Next week – running a doggy day care centre. Expect bleating shaggy dog tales and more dog’s dinners!



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About the Author:

About Karen Espley, blogging for The Chameleon GuideKaren Espley of The Chameleon Guide works with ambitious small business owners on her Profit Accelerator Programme. She brings pragmatic and real world advice in a group setting to help her clients make a significant difference to their business through increasing profits and running a highly effective business.

Offering workshops and group profit programmes for companies wanting to reach their full potential.