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Thursday, April 27, 2006

UK Apprentice: The Badger Slips The Knife

The Apprentice Sir Alan Sugar fired deserved to go.

The task this week was a fun-filled week on a huge ocean-going cruise liner in the Med.

The teams had to “creatively” come up with a service that the ship’s customers would be interested in doing. Also to win the teams had to get good customer feedback as well as make more money than the other team.

The Badger and Slippery (Ruth and Sayed) were one team. Ansell, Paul and Michelle were the other team.

As project manager Slippery suggested that they have an onboard Olympics. The other project manager Paul suggested a dance instruction class followed by a knockout competition.

Considering there were well over 2,000 people on board neither team had people rushing to sign-up.

Ruth’s marketing effort was a nicely designed flyer and large entry in the onboard daily newspaper.

Paul appeared on the ship’s TV channel and later on, during one of Sayed’s Games, appeared again on a huge TV screen on deck to put his message across.

Sayed noticed the TV effort and tried to do the same himself, not very successfully it has to be said.

In the end Sayed’s team lost.

The reasons...

Sayed - or Slippery

Slippery, who later claimed to be very creative, had suggested what was effectively a games day. So nothing that the passengers couldn’t already do themselves. He also managed, yet again, to be disorganised and not write people’s name and cabin number on the back of lottery tickets he was selling. Nobody turned up to the first event he organised. And he was late to arrive at the tennis tournament. He kept changing his mind about the events they should be doing. He seemed to be in a very reactive mode. And of course he made mistakes.

During the firing he also claimed to have “looked after” Ruth so well.

Ruth...or The Badger

I think she helped Slippery to slip up. She knew the rules said that money used out of their budget would come out of their profits but didn’t push the point with Sayed. When Sayed said they should “lose” the tickets he hadn’t written on the back she said he shouldn’t then on camera said “in her book it was fraud” - which of course it is and she should have said the same to Sayed. She allowed him to put on a games day when she knew the rules had said provide a service to the passengers. She looked as though she’d kept well out of the way so that the cameras could only focus on Sayed rushing around and trying to locate her. She made the (obvious) point very strongly about Sayed’s lack of attention to detail and his disorganisation. She also said her “only weakness” was creativity because “she was a doer”. This said with Sayed playing the creativity card.

Slippery & Badger’s Marketing

Ruth’s marketing was trivial, well to be fair the other team’s wasn’t much better. People must know by now that a key part of marketing is repetition. Repeat the message, obviously tweaking as you go. But repeat it in different ways.

For example for their different games they went into the newspaper and had flyers produced. A good start.

Why hadn’t they asked the cruise director what other forms of marketing they could use. Let me note one or two:

  • Do some market research - ask passengers what service they’d like!

  • Pre-record a few mini TV adverts to run the previous day and during the day

  • Record a radio interview about the games for the ship’s radio

  • Pre-record and play radio ads during the day

  • Put up some posters around the ship

  • Ask if they could do a tannoy announcement over the ships tannoy system

When it came to the boardroom firing Ruth quietly slipped the knife into Sayed about buying bottles of Champagne being his idea and she’d “asked” him about whether the rules said money spent came from their profits - which of course she already knew.

She also made sure that she made the point that Sayed kept interrupting her. In fact at one point the argument between Ruth and Sayed became so heated that we were wondering if they were going to come to blows.

Sir Alan has at last commented on the fact that Ruth puts people in a position so that they are likely to fail. She does exactly that, point to the weakness in someone else so you can’t see hers. She also made a great song and dance about being “a fundamental part” of making her company an extra £10 million over 3 years.

So what?

If you can’t perform on The Apprentice it doesn’t matter how much you say you’ve made anyone else does it?

Anyway at last we say farewell to Slippery as Sir Alan commented that there was some disconnect between what Sayed said and the facts. That’s something I think has been obvious over the weeks!

In a later post I'll be doing a bit of crystal ball gazing of the people who are left and their chances of winning.

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