The Apprentice 2012 – Sterling lose again as wine video fails to sparkle

The Apprentice 2012 – Sterling lose again as wine video fails to sparkle

This week’s task on the Apprentice involved marketing English Sparkling wine through a website. But first, Lord Sugar took the opportunity to balance the teams (at least numerically) and allowed Phoenix to choose someone from Sterling. Unanimously, Tom, Jade and Adam poached Nick into their ranks. This left Ricky, Stephen, Gabrielle and Jenna in Sterling. Both teams had 2 “rising stars” and 2 “also rans” (see my mid-series review).

This task seemed perfect for Tom (fine wine buyer), Nick (website expertise) and Jade (advertising expertise). Certainly, that’s what Sterling PM Ricky thought as he somewhat pessimistically briefed his team. For Phoenix, Tom took on the role of PM for the second week running. Gabrielle had wanted to do the same for Sterling.

With only 4 members per team, or 2 per sub-team, this is where everyone has to contribute. There is no hiding place, and choosing which personnel do which task is one of the most crucial decisions that the PM makes.

With this in mind, Tom and Adam set off to do “research” ( or wine tasting to you and me) and left Nick and Jade to work on the branding and website. I know that Tom is an expert in wines, but this task is about selling a concept rather than a specific product, and Jade rightly asks if Tom shouldn’t have been more involved with the branding.

Over in Sterling, Gabrielle and Stephen do their research in Tesco, and yet again we get our weekly Stephen “comic” moment as he goes looking for a wine expert, much to Gabrielle’s dismay.

Both PMs identify their brand values; heritage and quality for Tom and Phoenix; quality, quality, quality for Ricky and Sterling. The rest of the programme follows how the teams try to reflect this in their websites (including promotional video) and pitches to an expert panel.

Remember the “fitness regime” task in week 5 ? You would expect that Ricky would have learned a lesson, when  the failure of a subteam to deliver the video he wanted cost him the task. Obviously he didn’t, and despite Jenna and Stephen being clearly told that the video must not be cheesy, that’s exactly what they produced! The video was clearly not what Ricky requested, and it undermined the excellent work done by both Ricky and, especially Gabrielle, on the website, and logo, both of which said “quality”. The video said “crass”. It cost Sterling the task.

Not that Phoenix were perfect. Their video was “boring” to quote both PM Tom and Lord Sugar. Directed by Jade with the help of self procaimed “choreographer” Adam, it was poor. Tom and Nick spent a long time designing the perfect website, but for the wrong concept. They seemed to think they were there to sell brands of English SW (sparkling wine), rather than the concept of English SW. This was a fundamental error, and could (should?) have cost Phoenix the task. If it wasn’t for the cheesy Sterling video, it would have.

So, Tom et al survive. Having seen the praise heaped on Gabrielle’s clever logo combining a rose and a champagne flute, Ricky wisely brought back the video makers; Stephen and Jenna. Track record actually favoured Stephen (won 6/8 previous tasks, first time in the bottom 3, so maybe not on Sugar’s radar) over Jenna (lost 5, in the bottom 3 for the third time) but it looked bad for him when Ricky suggested he should be fired.  However, it was Jenna’s suicide speech as she tried to defend the video she principally created as “quality” (it wasn’t) that did for her. Stehen added a desperate plea for another chance and a promise that he will win the next rask as PM. Sugar accepted this, and said he will hold him to it, and Jenna was fired.

So, this week we have learned that good as Tom and Nick are, they are capable of getting things wrong by not paying attention. This week it was following the wrong brief. Tom, like Ricky, should have overseen the video. Ricky came out of this quite well, despite him not learning form his previous (video production) mistake. He has to be up there with the favourites. However, it was Gabrielle who came out best this week, and I now see her a clear favourite. Adam, Jade and, especially Stephen, are on borrowed time unless they reveal previously (well) hidden talents.

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7 Responses to The Apprentice 2012 – Sterling lose again as wine video fails to sparkle

  1. Tim says:

    Ricky did repeat some of his earlier mistakes here, although I do think he received too much criticism in the boardroom too. If he was guilty of anything, it was over-delegation,. I didn’t really buy Sugar’s “defeatist” comments. Ricky’s aim was clearly to build some underdog spirit. And he correctly identified that Tom’s expertise meant he might lose sight of the bugger picture – which is exactly what happened.

    I didn’t disagree with Jenna’s firing, but Stephen’s continued survival is puzzling. Aside from the embarrassing Tesco episode – really, you expect every Tesco store to have a wine expert?!? – his name suggestions were embarrassing, and when he suggested ‘Chink’ you could see Gabrielle recoil in horror in a “do I really need to tell you why that’s a bad idea?” sort of way. Mind you, where were the ideas from the rest of the team?

    Lost in all the fuss over the videos was another telling contribution by Gabrielle. It was a small thing in the overall task, but I thought her rose-as-wine-glass design was really rather clever.

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2012/05/17/the-apprentice-season-8-episode-9-english-bubbles/

  2. chocbutton says:

    Good point about Ricky making the same mistake by not attending the video filming but I guess that he was just too trusting of Jenna and Stephen! I think Ricky is a potential winner despite his bad track record as PM as both times, I felt that that he deserved to win. Phoenix’s campaign was uninspiring and just completely missed the point – they deserved to lose!

    http://chocbutton.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/the-apprentice-series-8-episode-9/

    • markdecosemo says:

      I think that Ricky cannot be discounted. He had certainly gone up in my estimation.

    • markdecosemo says:

      I think after this week, Ricky is in the last chance saloon, replacing Stephen!

      • chocbutton says:

        Whilst Ricky made some mistakes in the last show, I think that he has got a very good chance on winning the show, providing he stops making mistakes! During the show, Ricky has managed to pull off some big successes. For me, it has to be Adam (who hasn’t done anything to show that he is a good businessman except that he can sell, but he can do little else) and Tom (who started off strongly but seems to have faded).

        I’m glad Stephen has finally gone now, he should have gone the week before in my opinion.

      • markdecosemo says:

        You may well be right! The remaining candidates have bunched up. Each has had some success, and each has had some neat misses!

        I still think Nick looks good, as well as Ricky and Tom. There is a steeliness about Ricky that is not present in the others.

      • chocbutton says:

        I agree about Nick too…there seems to be something about him that suggests that he could win. I’m not sure about Tom…he seems be performing badly these last few weeks.

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