The Apprentices are given the task of inventing a piece of portable home fitness equipment with the intention of selling to 3 leading fitness retailers priced at under £30. And of course the team with the most orders.
Immediately the teams start to “brain storm” ideas for a piece of fitness equipment. Ben Clarke comes up with the clearly stupid suggestion (for an Apprentice task) of making a sex-related piece of fitness equipment. Over on Ignite they take plenty of time to come up with an idea. As Debra notes they lack creativity so they’ll have problems coming up with a product!
The Product Design Task
Now let’s take a look at this task…
First “The Objective” this time is to take more orders than the other team.
Second “The Customers” are:
- 3 leading fitness retailers
- They are used to selling fitness kit
- They probably don’t want cheap tat
Third the key areas to be concerned with are:
- Designing a good product
- Making the product look good
- Doing the research to ensure there is a market
- Getting the pitch right so that they get the orders
So how do The Apprentices manage?
Empire Design The Bingo Buster
Ben comes up with a suggestion for toning women’s upper arms! Instantly halving the market. So with nothing else the team go with that.
James Empire’s project manager knocks Bingo Buster as a name – well done. Wing Worker is thrown into the ring by Howard, I think more tongue in cheek than in reality.
Ben spends time demonstrating how fit he is. Yawn…
In the meantime Kate,Howard and James go off to do their research and tell the design team inexplicably headed up by Ben that the biggest seller is a chin-up bar – so “we don’t want a home gym – don’t over complicate it.” What a laugh, this is the Apprentice!
Empire Over-Complicates Matters
The design team visit a gym and decide to…
Overcomplicate the product!
When the product is explained the prototype makers observe that “it’s going to be a long night!”
The Bingo Buster now called the Home Multi-Tone looks like a loudspeaker. Ben is very keen on it. In my opinion it’s complete rubbish. Have they never heard of a BullWorker for low-end and a multi-gym for the high-end?
Empire Pitch Struggles With The Product
Kate valiantly puts forward the supposed benefits of the Home Multi-Tone to the 3 retailers. Ben “helps” her put it through its paces.
None of the retailers looked particularly convinced. In fact the John Lewis buyers looked amused.
Ignite Go For The Bum Ball
Phillip suggests a cube instead of the Swedish Ball. The trainer they consult suggests it’s rubbish. Debra, Ignite’s project manager has an idea she’s been pushing, ankle weights, but the trainer rubbishes that too.
Finally Phillip suggests the “Bum Ball” and at last the team leaves the rough design with the manufacturers to come up with a prototype.
Scapegoat Time Arrives
Lorraine Tighe asks to pitch the Body Rocker. She demonstrates that she’s not the best sales person in the world. Debra admits she’s taking a risk with allowing Lorraine to pitch. Hmm, I think more like lining up a scapegoat.
Lorraine is not the most confident pitcher and then Debra puts the knife in by saying she’s worried about the pitch! Go scapegoat go!
And yet Lorraine does a very good opening pitch to John Lewis. John Lewis seem quite keen and ask about an exclusive deal.
Exclusive Deals Need To Be Worked Properly
If the Apprentice’s had seen previous series they’d remember that chains often want exclusive deals. However, Ignite are a bit stumped wen John Lewis ask about an exclusive deal. Until Yasmina jumps in and suggest 20,000 units with 6 months exclusivity. Well done Yasmina! Debra looked to be trying to get out of the meeting!
Back To The Boardroom
And the orders for the teams were as follows:
|Retailer||Empire Orders||Ignite Orders|
So Empire lose yet again. And over at Ignite Phillip supports Lorraine in the face of Debras scapegoating which must help Phillip in the whole show.
Ben Over And Take The Blame
Ben correctly thinks that James is going to slap the blame on him – where it belongs because Ben over-complicated the whole product. And as one of the retailers says it looks very 1970’s.
Equally James should have been more involved in the whole design – after all that’s where the whole thing could fail!
As Sir Alan points out there’s no creativity or design in the product. So Majid, “you’re fired.”
Was The Apprentice Firing Fair?
James was the project manager and should have had more control over the product design because that was obviously the most important point in the task. And yet again in the boardroom James starts flying off in all directions.
Ben was the designer and yet overcomplicated the whole product. Despite James telling him not to over complicate the product.
In the end though when Majid was fired it was fair because he had actually over complicated the product and as the design team hadn’t held Ben back from his over active imagination. Plus he really has seemed like a pleasant enough person but a passenger.
Who’s The Favourite To Win At The Moment?
I’m still thinking Kate Walsh is a good bet as she did a reasonable pitch to the retailers.
Also Phillip with his stout defence of Lorraine is looking good too.