Young Apprentice: the sweet smell of success?

By: Rachel Miller

Date: 24 November 2011

There’s a nasty whiff coming from Wembley Stadium, according to Lord Sugar this week. He has gathered the troops there for a briefing on the latest task. With crowds of up to 90,000, things can get sweaty at Wembley. Lord S wants the candidates to do something about it by creating new anti-perspirant deoderant brands and making a TV ad.

This week, Lord S chooses the project managers. Harry M is leading James, Lizzie and Gbemi. And Zara is in charge of Hayley, Harry H and Haya.

“I knew I was going to be PM,” says Zara. It sounds like something Margaret Thatcher might have said to Denis over a G&T.

Like the iron lady, both Zara and Harry M are very dictatorial so it’s tough for their teammates to get a look in. Gbemi says Harry M might as well be in a team by himself. Mind you, she can’t talk. Her favourite phrase is “I don’t like it”.

Harry M and James clash from the start. Harry M wants a brand name, like now. James wants to come up with the concept first and choose the name second. He wants a brand that solves a problem and stands for something. He’s right of course.

Gbemi suggests the name Vanity. Harry M is pushing for a brand that is “fun”. It’s all a bit of a hotch potch — and it shows in the final advert.

Over on Zara’s team, they come up with a concept — a deoderant that takes you from day to night. But the focus team hates it. Harry H is the voice of reason here. He says, “The focus group was useful because it told us that we were wrong”.

As a team, they come up with a new concept — a street dancer. It’s simple but at least it works with their brand name, Raw.

Harry M and James, meanwhile, go to what Nick Hewer calls “a dark and smelly place”. It’s a small basement nightclub where they get a geeky girl to do some bad dancing and then impress two guys once she’s sprayed herself and most of the room with their deoderant, Vanity.

The teams present their work to a panel of ad execs at agency JWT. The pitches are pretty polished. However, Lizzie manages to put her foot in it by suggesting that teenagers have changed a lot since the panel were young. Just a suggestion Lizzie but try not to insult the people you are pitching to.

Remarkably, both teams manage to impress Lord Sugar with their ads. And Nick says both pitches were good too. Even so, there’s a clear loser. Vanity is poorly designed and the geeky girl ad appears to have nothing to do with the concept.

There’s the usual boardroom argy bargy. Harry M brings back James and Gbemi. Despite Harry’s hopeless leadership, everyone latches on to the fact that Gbemi designed the unfortunate packaging and it is soon apparent that she is to be this week’s sacrifical lamb.

Bye bye Gbemi.

The ones to watch: Hayley, Zara and James

Next week: The buying task.