The Apprentice Week 7- Caravan of Love

The Apprentice Week 7 – Caravan of Love

Your fired

This series of The Apprentice is really standing out for me. Not for the quality of the candidates, as of the original 16 only a few seem to have anything to offer. No, for me it is the more overt personality clashes. We expect this in the interview segments, but even in the tasks it is clear that some people can barely tolerate each other.

We’re back to a selling task this week. The theme is holidaying and recreation, specifically around caravanning. They have to identify items to sell at a camping and caravanning expo.

Neil joins Evolve as PM to balance the numbers. In Endeavour, Kurt gets the nod, due to experience of caravan holidays, over Alex who also wanted his chance. He is disappointed to be overlooked and displays a bit of immature petulance.

Both teams seem bemused by the choice and function of the available items and can’t disguise their contempt for the whole idea of caravan holidays. They also observe that the demographic at this expo are generally the retired, over 55s.

First task, they have to be able to convince the designers / suppliers to allow them to sell their accessories. Myles in particular excels with enthusiasm and insincerity in equal measures. Luisa performs the same task in Evolve.  Both teams find it difficult to get the designers to move on price. But Leah and Natalie, working with Myles,  push hard for a discount, with no joy.

Eventually both teams go for the same items, an electric bike and children’s box.  Despite Myles charm, Endeavour get both products. Leah’s  lack of enthusiasm and pushing hard for discounts is blamed by Myles. As alternatives, they are left with  the boat box and a camping chair.

In a great example of contrastive analysis, Neil and Jason work together to source a high ticket item. Neither seems able to stand the other. Eventually, they opt for the folding camper. sold on the sales potential by the designer,  as it is targeted at the older customer and sales have been steady at the expo.

Kurt and Jason are also working together. and go for the higher priced retro camper. This is an interesting choice, given that it is aimed at the 35-45 ages group, and there aren’t many of them around.

When it comes to selling, Neil shows his experience and seta targets and wants to see competition. Kurt divides up to team and chooses Myles to sell the camper van, despite Alex’ wanting to do it. Again, Alex is not happy.

Jason’s “camp” style seems to go over well with the punters, who are mostly older, and he makes the first big ticket sales. Myles finds selling the retro camper difficult, but even his charm can’t sell an item aimed at 35 year olds to an audience of over 50s.

Both PMs struggle to get their own sales going, as does Jordan, but Natalie and Jason flourish selling their accessories. Leah sells one of the boat-roof boxes and towards the end of the day, she is drafted by PM Kurt to try and sell the retro camper. His strategy here is to use Leah as eye candy, but she is brought in too late.  Leah nearly gets a sale, but runs out of time. Neil gets a late sale for the folding camper.

In the boardroom, Myles blames Leah for them not getting their preferred items and is supported by Natalie. Alex reiterates his unhappiness about being frozen out. Endeavour is clearly not a happy ship.

In Evolve, Neil reviews his sales plan, in particular why he rejected the retro camper because it was wrong for the demographic they were selling to. He is proved to be correct,when it is revealed that they sold 3 of the folding campers and outsold Endeavour on the accessory items. Not surprisingly, Endeavour sold no retro campers.

So Evolve wins, and Neil has to be given credit on a number of fronts; his business skills in rejecting the the retro camper, and his overall team management. Despite getting neither of the accessories they wanted, they still outsold Endeavour.

As Evolve are leaving, Jason is called back to be congratulated by Sugar for selling one of the folding campers. We’ve waited a long time for Jason to be anything other than good TV, but he did well in this task.

Back in the boardroom, the dysfunctional nature of Endeavour is revealed. Kurt realises his position is weak,  and is rightly criticised for choosing the retro camper over the folding camper. Fingers are pointed in every direction. Leah is horrified when Nick reveals that she was brought across to sell the retro camper as “eye candy”. Maybe this is why he makes the bizarre choice to bring back Natalie and Alex into the final 3, despite the fact that Leah was blamed for scaring the designers off with her pushy negotiations and Myles sold nothing?

Sugar wonders if Kurt is bringing Natalie back for tactical reasons (she is in the last chance saloon) and challenges Kurt on this. Both Alex and Natalie put up a robust defence, but Alex is partly blamed for the choice of products.

Not surprisingly, it is Kurt who is fired. Not only did he bring the wrong people back into the boardroom,  but his choices throughout the task have been poor. Sugar does spring a late surprise and Natalie is fired also, just when she may have thought she had got away with it.

This week has been a bit of a leveller, with Neil looking a strong candidate. His instinct for business is good, and he is a strong leader. Jason has also finally shown he has a little ability, but both Jordan and Myles were poor and Alex’ lack of maturity came through. For the girls, I’m losing confidence in my early favourite Leah and Luisa still has plenty to prove.