7.5 Create, Brand And Launch A Pet Food
I’ve been rumbled. For the past couple of years, my family have believed that I’ve been writing deathly important articles, of great national importance. It’s a façade I’ve been keeping up well, until my mother happened to chance upon one of these Apprentice reviews. Why, she was wondering, do I sit on a sofa drinking cheap wine, blabbing on about The Apprentice? Do I have a drink problem? Why is Den Of Geek reviewing The Apprentice anyway?
By way of a concession to her, and banking on the fact that she never gets past the half way point of anything I write, I’ll hold back the talk of drink for a good few paragraphs yet, if it’s all the same. Just rest assured I’m as sloshed as usual when writing this.
So let me ask a serious question: have you ever stopped to consider just what’s involved in a task for The Apprentice? Take this week’s as an example. Come up with a new brand of “unique” pet food, one that finds a gap in the market and has a shot of making lots of cash. Then, put together a television commercial for it. Then, pitch it to a dead posh advertising agency. Then, stand there and take it while they punch holes in something you’d spent the last two days without sleep putting together.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that nobody, ever, within the pet food business has been able to do this.
Even the planet’s guru of wet pet food, whoever they may be, might have needed at least a few months, if they could do it at all. Thus, should a candidate have been able to complete this challenge, then their reward shouldn’t have been to go off and play tennis with some bloke who won Wimbledon once (the BBC has its upcoming tennis coverage to plug, presumably). They should have been able to have the job of anybody in the room, Baron von Sugar included.
Still, neither team managed the task in question, and both of them actually made the proverbial dog’s dinner of it. Oh, scoffed the posh executives with decades of experience behind them, look how they made the obvious mistakes! No doubt they retreated to their executive board room and downed a few glasses of Pimms, patting themselves smugly on the back as they did so. Sigh.
Lining up for the impossible task, then, were the two teams, one led by Glenn, one by Vincent. They’d actually been brought somewhere relevant to have the task introduced to them, which was a change, although we had an extraordinarily large projected Baron Alan, rather than the real thing. You can’t have things nice and straightforward, can you?
Glenn had been building up a decent profile for himself in the weeks gone by, and in some people’s book, had been emerging as contender for the top prize. It’s fair to say that by the time this episode finished, any such thoughts had been eradicated from most people’s minds. Wild brainstorms? A bad central idea? Ignoring the advice of those around him, getting half of his team laughing at him, and then bringing them into line? Uh-oh. That sort of thing never really bodes well.
It was to Glenn’s favour, then, that he was confronted by Vincent. Here, too, was a man with a masterstroke, namely to target every living animal on the planet for his products. It was a bold strategy, certainly, and to armchair analysts watching through a haze of cheap-wine induced blurriness, it wasn’t tricky to see where the plan was going to fall down.
What was interesting here, though, was the mechanic between him and Jim. Jim is, I’d imagine, most people’s idea of a candidate to at least reach the final four, but Baron Alan has his card marked now, we learn. Because Jim, basically, wrapped Vincent around his little finger, and danced around a little when it became clear that the name Every Dog was, actually, quite shit.
Talking of quite shit, I’ve not mentioned my companion for the evening (it’s okay: my mother will be long gone by now). My local Spar, this week, was bereft of special offers, meaning I’ve had to pay £4.99 for my tipple. It still tastes vulgar, of course, as if there’d been a massive error at the vinegar factory. It’s supposed to be Chardonnay, but I think the Lambrusco taste testers might turn their nose up at it. I figured you’d be disappointed if I wasn’t drinking something, though.
In fact, as someone pointed out to me the other week, it’d cost more to make a bottle of pop than it would to manufacture half of the wine I appear to be drinking. The £3.33 bottle of something that I had the other week is actually closer to 96p by the time you take tax and duty into account. Knock off the manufacturing costs, the retailer margin and other stuff like that, and I’d be amazed if it cost more than 30p to make. I reckon they got the grapes from Lidl.
I’ve not really talked much about the episode, you might have noticed, but that’s because it wasn’t actually massively interesting. Most of us could have seen Leon’s cringe-inducing presentation coming, as soon as it became clear he had so long to write it, while the commercials themselves were fairly routine fodder. It all, ultimately, seemed an exercise in whittling down one of the less telly-friendly candidates.
Glenn’s team, then, just about won, and suffered the treat of the week (as riveting as always to watch). Which left Vincent, who decided to not bring Jim into the final three. Instead? Ellie got brought back, as did Natasha. Vincent makes decent telly, neither Ellie nor Natasha looks a strong punt at winning the show.
But then Baron Alan pulled a rare surprise, and it was good to see. Ellie went, which most of us saw coming. Yet then, the Baron pulled a Donald Trump-style double firing, and sent Vincent home too. Blimey. It was a genuine surprise, at the end of an otherwise routine episode. Common sense suggested that Vincent had to be on his way, but it was still a bit of a jolt to see a pair of sackings.
Next week? It looks like they’re, quite literally, selling rubbish. See you then…
Read our review of episode 4, Beauty Treatments, here.