This years apprentice lesson 5: What’s the point?
With a double-firing rounding off this week’s episode of the Apprentice, it’s taken us a while to regain our composure and think through the lesson!
We’ve now reached that familiar turning point in the series. Some of the livelier front runners have fallen at the first hurdles, and the real contenders are making their way up the inside. The remaining candidates are more familiar to us now, we know how they think and operate. So we’re starting to spot the nags likely to limp home and the thoroughbreds who’ll make it to the winners enclosure (forgive the horse-racing analogy, it is Derby Day this Saturday after all).
And slap-bang amongst all that excitement, this week was the advertising task. It’s the task that gets their creative juices flowing, and for one day at least, the candidates are seduced by fantasies of becoming a great film director, voice over artist, casting agent, script writer to name just a few. But like all new experiences, the initial fascination, rush of adrenalin and kick of excitement is short-lived, and the tasks it’s diverted you from, can often cost you dearly.
This time around, just like every other, the teams decided to undertake a strange process in order to pull the thing together. It was a bit of a cart before the horse sort of affair which seemed to bypass some of the fundamentals in marketing: who’s gonna buy the product (the audience) why they should buy this one over and above another (the proposition) and how can we get all that across in a nice easy way (creative). Field research data, expert opinion and common sense were all over-ruled by the PM’s executive decisions. So in the end they were left to (clumsily in Leon’s case and patronisingly in Melody’s) unveil a campaign that didn’t seem to make much sense to anyone.
But it needn’t have been that way. A strong sense of the product – what makes it special and who it will appeal to - should always be at the heart of any campaign. On their own, great straplines, snazzy packaging and amusing jingles are just building blocks, it’s the understanding of the product and the audience that hold them all together. Both teams failed to nail it this week, and I’m unconvinced they really understood why. Certainly Vincent seemed pretty dismayed that his own particular brand of charm and charisma, hadn’t been enough to see him through when he appeared on the sister show The Apprentice You’re Fired.
But before I tar them all with the same brush, there’s a special mention here for Tom. One of the quieter, less gregarious and perhaps dare I say nerdier candidates. It’s not gone unnoticed here at Chatter, that Tom consistently gets it right. He’s sounded a bell of caution on several occasions over the past few weeks, which has customarily been ignored, but subsequently turned out to be the alarm bell everyone should have heard. So if you don’t fancy a flutter on the Derby this weekend, perhaps a few quid on Tom to win might be worth a punt?