I’m beginning to get withdrawal symptoms as The Apprentice waves goodbye for this year. I’ve also just realised that this post didn’t make it up to the blog when I originally completed it, so my apologies for its late arrival.
The final task is nothing to turn your nose up at. Although you might be a bit sniffy about it.
The was for the two teams to create a new scent, priced at £29.95 to make a profit. And provide relevant marketing collateral to go with it and then present it to perfume industry experts.
Clare and Lee and Alex and Helene were the two teams. And in line with tradition the finalists get to choose the returning members of the series to help them.
What gets me is that Claire immediately asks for Agent Orange (Aka Jennifer Celerier) to be on her team. The final teams were:
Lee and Claire with: Jennifer Celerier, Simon Smith and Michael Sophocles
and Alex and Helene with: Kevin Shaw,Jennifer Maguire and Raef Bjayal.
It’s a difficult call to decide who’s got the worst team. In the end I’ve got to go with Alex and Helene’s team. After all they’ve got the famous Italian restaurant food eater (Kevin) and useless project manager Jennifer Maguire. And to top it all Helene who I still haven’t worked out what she’s good at, unless it’s blaming other people?
In the car back to base Helene butters up Alex by claiming she would have picked him to work with her anyway. Hmm…
We Wants To Smell Like Men!
Claire and Michael zoom off for some market research where they ask leading questions. Like do you want to smell masculine? The plumbers, who are their focus group, suggest they want something strong that lasts!
Lee, Claire and team brainstorm names for the new scent, Psst, Primal and finally Roulette. Lee then says that any man would want to be James Bond. Probably true so Roulette gets the Lee thumbs-up.
Lee directs the TV ad where the two actors/models are asked to get up close and personal. One of them is dressed as James Bond and Lee really goes over the top with his directions. Still, at least Lee learnt the lesson from the previous advert and the product features heavily.
And so it’s on to the presentation. Lee is besides himself saying he can’t do it. Claire supports him well. After all she risks losing the task if Lee can’t do his part.
On the night Claire makes a good presentation. Lee makes a pretty average show of it. There’s questions about the suitability of showing gambling on TV from the audience. Claire says that gambling is never mentioned. Yes, apart from calling the scent Roulette!
The Name They Plucked From The Air
Meanwhile in Alex and Helene’s team Alex goes off with Kevin to do market research whilst Helene is sent off to think of a name. How hard can that be then? Well as it turns out Helene can’t think of a name. Thus proving that we still don’t know what she does.
And in the car Kevin is complaining about Helene, saying she can’t make decisions and that Alex is more of a project manager than she is.
Helene decides that she has the ability to create a fantastic scent and even thinks about including one that smells of curry. In the end she comes up with something that’s surprisingly close to her own perfume. Not particularly unique then?
Alex and Kevin and the designers get down to deciding what to make for the bottle. They’re a bit baffled though because Helene still hasn’t decided on the name. In the end Alex makes a decision and calls the scent “Dual” because they’ve come up with a unique and interesting bottle design. Basically it’s one bottle with another bottle you can take with you integrated into it(you get the point with dual now don’t you?). Nice design but no one has considered the cost of production. Naughty, naughty Alex and bank manager Kevin!
Helene and Alex present OK. Now having reviewed a book all about the way GE do presentations I would say that Helene completely failed to demonstrate that she was able to present in the way GE wanted. Still the experts were mightily impressed by the design of the bottle. Although there was the obvious concern about the cost of making it.
The Apprentices Finally Land In The Boardroom
Helene’s smile becomes a bit more fixed when she discovers that the perfume she designed is like her own. And therefore the team has failed part of the brief to make a unique scent. Plus of course they were pulled down because whilst they had a fascinating design (suggested by the designer Alex) they hadn’t costed its production.
So Helene and Alex it’s goodbye.
Was The Firing Fair?
Without any doubt any team that had Helene on didn’t stand a chance. She and Alex just didn’t gel. And I’m not sure whether it was Alex’s fault or Helenes. Still they failed to deliver what Sir Alan had asked. So they were right to be fired.
And then, of course Lee McQueen was hired.
Was The Hiring Fair?
If Lee and Alex had been the team against Claire and Helene and the boys had won I would have hired Alex. However, I think Sir Alan put the two lost likely candidates for him together in one team – Claire and Lee. To see how they performed.
There’s no doubt Sir Alan still had a concern about Claire’s motor mouth. She also did steamroller people into doing things and had actually caused mistakes in several of the tasks she was involved with. And they were caused by her thinking she knew it all.
Lee did well as the project manager in the Marrakesh, the supersports car tasks and also as joint project manager of the final task. Although I didn’t like his treatment of Lucinda or Sara (after she managed to hang on in the boardroom) or his blatant lying on his CV. Or his depressingly familiar, “I’m disappointed in that” whenever he’s caught out making an error.
It was a tough call but I think of the two of them I would have hired Lee. On the upside for Claire maybe Karen Brady really would hire her. Check it out!
Technorati tags: The Apprentice, BBC, Sir Alan Sugar, Ian Stringer, Shazia Waheb, Lee McQueen, Lindi Mngaza, Alex Wotherspoon, Nicholas De Lacy Brown, Jennifer Celerier, Jennifer Maguire, Raef Bjayal, Claire Young, Lucinda Ledgerwood, Kevin Shaw, Simon Smith, Helene Speight, Sara Dhada, Michael Sophocles