The Apprentice is really hotting up now and the signs are showing. In Episode 8 we saw the firing of the popular and mostly harmless Jason Leech. Jason, 29, a historian and budding property entrepreneur fell foul of this week’s task, setting up an online dating agency. He abdicated project management on the task, after taking a browbeating from Luisa (with some support from Neil).
Where did it all go wrong? Well the team’s were summoned to the old Marylebone Town Hall, wedding capital of London, to be briefed on the data agency challenge. With the teams a little lopsided some balancing up was required so Jordan Poulton was moved to Endeavour.
The team’s had two days to develop an online dating concept backed up by advertising. Jason admitted that he had a nickname of Mr Cupid as he had run an online dating agency before as a student so he was accepted as project leader.
Jason was keen to target the over 50’s market and brainstormed some ideas with Luisa whilst Neil and Francesca researched the market.
Meanwhile over at Endeavour Jordan was wanting an integrated consistent campaign. Jordan set Leah and Myles the challenge of collecting market research whilst he and Alex brainstormed brand ideas. Alex came up with the idea of the cufflinks brand. A bit male orientated for my liking.
Jason and Luisa came up with Friendship and Flowers as a brand (although later we heard ther name was suggested by Francesca). As they worked on the graphic design, Jason appeared to dither quite a lot. He wanted to get the logo looking perfect. He failed to do this despite spending excessive time on it. Luisa must have said “make a decision” about a dozen times. It felt as if she was doing this for the benefit of the cameras rather than to help Jason. As a result of the delays they were 2 hours late briefing the web designer.
Over at Endeavour, Alex and Jordan were targeting the 20-30s age group but their website looked very corporate and formal. It certainly didn’t look bundles of fun.
Overnight in Team Evolve there were dramatic events. Luisa expressed her dissatisfaction about Jason’s project management. As a result a coup d’etat took place (or was it an abdication) and Jason was discarded as project leader and Luisa put in his place. Unheard of! A high risk strategy for all concerned.
The next day it was tv advertising day. The Endeavour effort was pretty boring, masterminded by Francesca. However at team Evolve it was nothing like that. Alex and Leah were working on a tv advert “together”. They were not always in perfect harmony during this process. Karren Brady described it as “mayhem”.
Alex was proposed as the date from hell in the advert and he willingly dressed up for the part. Calling himself Herbert it was pure pantomime. It was more like a scene from Psycho and would certainly discourage most people from joining such a dating agency.
The task culminated with a big presentation to an invited audience including staff from eHarmony.
At Team Evolve, Luisa took some delight in stopping Neil from presenting at the big pitch. The audience was fairly scathing as the over 50s pitch was more like an over 80s pitch and was very safe (that’s polite code for boring). The website was also non-existent.
Myles presented the cufflinks pitch. Alex’s video appearance at least created some laughs. The audience pointed out the disconnect between the corporate website and the zany advertising.
Having got feedback from the audience, Lord Sugar had to decide who had won.
In the initial boardroom discussion Nick Hewer pointed out Luisa’s “disgraceful display of bad manners” on day one of the task as she continually sniped at Jason “like a terrier nipping at the heels of a bewildered sheep“.
For Team Endeavour, Jordan was criticised for not rolling his sleeves up or getting involved.
It was a close call but Lord Sugar declared Herbert and Team Endeavour the winners. As a reward they were sent to Mayfair to sample caviar.
Meanwhile at the Bridge Cafe there was embarrassment all round from Team Evolve.
When Evolve returned to face Lord Sugar, there was some disagreement over who was project manager so it was clear Luisa Zissman and Jason Leech were both going into the boardroom. Luisa and Jason couldn’t even agree between the two of them whether Neil or Francesca should come with them. Francesca MacDuff Varley was finally invited into the boardroom to make up the numbers. Actually she invited herself in as she was so annoyed by Jason’s critique of her tv advert, so Neil went off back to the house.
In the boardroom Luisa’s dominance came out. She did herself no favours with her shoot from the hip approach. Jason was browbeaten by Luisa in the boardroom and Francesca joined in. Neither of them seemed to understand what “shut up” meant when Lord Sugar told them to stop talking.
Jason was fired. Lord Sugar said it was with regret as he is such a pleasant personality. “He’s a nice person but he got beaten up“. Karren Brady asked to follow Luisa next week as she wanted to see what she was made of. This is pretty ominous for Luisa. Her cards are now marked.
So after Jason’s abdication (I still feel it was a coup d’etat) seven candidates remain and Lord Sugar’s search for his business partner continues.