31/10/2011

Young Apprentice - Just not the same without Mo's watch...

Harry, Lewis and Baby Darth Jim
This week, the candidates had to design a product for the parent and baby market and pitch it to a number of large retailers. It should have been a breeze, as they are (technically) all children themselves, naturally, it wasn’t. Mainly because the girls all behaved like the leads in the ‘Witches of Eastwick’ and the boys spent much of the episode demonstrating their inability to work as a team.

The candidates were then whisked away to a talk about babies, how heavy they are, what it’s like to look after them etc, all in lieu of development research. None of them seemed particularly comfortable around the baby, with Lewis the PM looking positively horrified. One of the girls proved just why it’s never advisable for teenagers to have babies with the comment “Would you have to change the nappy every time or could you leave it for a bit?” It didn’t bode well…
The boys elected Lewis to be Project Manager who told us he had, “every single ingredient to make this fantastic cocktail of success”. Except, as it turns out, any ideas that he had confidence in. The girls, went with Gbemi, mainly because in her words “ I’m quite out there, in your face, aggressive, intimidating and loud,
Lewis looking uncomfortable
but I believe that this is what helps me get what I want”. Basically, the girsl were terrified and felt they had no choice but to pick her.

The girls product, which they settled on quickly, was a sling that had built in support for the baby's head called the "Comfy Curve". A simple enough concept, which Gbemi, despite claiming to be a dab hand at pitching, was unfortunately unable to articulate in the later pitches. The boys spent a considerable amount of time bickering and bitching like, well, like girls, before deciding upon a bottle warmer in the shape of a Hippo. A much better product, in fact, than the girls'.

On to the marketing and design phases where one of the girls decided it would be a good idea to cast a black mother with a white blond child for their advert, deep sigh.... When chastised (in no uncertain terms) by Gbemi and her cronies, she moaned that as PM, Gbemi should instead, come up with suggestions to fix it. “What do you want me to do?", Gbemi quite reasonably retorted. "Change the colour of the baby? Give it a tan?”  It turned out that the advert was irrelevant, as Gbemi’s pitching managed to confuse retailers so much, (one being moved to ask what the product actually did), that no one really noticed the advert….

Gbemi centre, “What do you want me to do? Change the colour of the baby? Give it a tan?”
I began to suspect Lewis could see the writing on the wall when he announced: “I'm going to eat loads, so I don't have to eat at that cafe." (The first real evidence we've ever had that the cafe actually serves food by the way.) Lewis is possibly a bit sharper than I am giving him credit for as, despite, for the second week in a row, having: an inferior product; a bad ad campaign and; a disorganised team, the girls won. So as well as behaving like a bunch of witches, they also appear to have magical powers. Gbemi and the idiot who was in charge of the advertising campaign both, undeservedly, lived to fight another day. The boys, meanwhile were once again treated to a stint in the losers cafe.

I thought Gbemi ballsed her pitch up, until, that is, I heard the lad from Liverpool...Lewis, despite having his pitch WRITTEN DOWN, fluffed it up. Largely because it appears he can’t read. (Side note: So the last two weeks have shown that: the girls haven't mastered basic maths; and the boys can't read. A damning indictment of our Education system....) Despite completely destroying his teams chances of a sale in the first pitch, he then insisted on leading the next one and surprise, surprise, he fluffed that too. Gbemi showed a modicum of common sense by allowing Raki (?) to pitch to Mothercare – the largest retailer - a decision that would ultimately pay dividends for her.

So to the boardroom where the boys were taking no prisoners. Question: 'Was he a good PM?" Answer (without a moments hesitation): "No". Baby Darth Jim the annoying Irish one went so far as to comment, "It was a bit like having an enemy from the opposing team in your own team" They boys are all evil!

Somehow, Baby Darth Jim got away with it again, despite being desperately irritating throughout the task. (Do all Irish Apprentice candidates have 'the force'?) Lewis, miraculously, given the fact that he basically conceded that the failure of the task was his fault, survived. Instead Ben (Who? Who is Ben? Did they swap him for Mahamad the Don? I don't remember seeing him last week), was given the chop.
Ben who?
If I’m honest, I didn’t find this week anywhere near as interesting as last week, the absence of Mo’s watch and suit being keenly felt - in my mind anyway. I will however, continue to watch, if only to determine how powerful Baby Darth Jim’s ‘force’ is…

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