The Apprentice returned this week with an exciting task, which saw the candidates rushed off to Paris to attempt to sell British products to the French market. Lord Sugar laid on a pitch to massive retailer La Redoute.
Lord Sugar placed Tom in charge of team Logic, whereas Susan placed herself in charge of Venture. The teams split in two, with project managers and one other staying behind in London, as the remainder of the teams were sent off to Paris. Melody and Leon were tasked with market research and researching La Redoute. Melody used her bulldog-ish tenacity and her understanding of the French language (that we all know Leon didn’t have), to organise herself eight meetings for the next day and none for the rest of the team.
Melody used her “selective translation” to complete her market research, purely to match her own feelings on the products of choice. Melody and Leon, despite having eight appointments, failed to research La Redoute and steered team leader Tom in the wrong direction. Tom picked the teapot light and the 3-D postcards for his team to sell.
In team Venture, Susan and Zoe stayed in London to choose the products. They chose the lucrative booster seat and universal phone grip. During product selection, we were shown how truly naive Susan is. Pure stupidity from Susan lead her to question, “do the French love their children?” and “Do the French drive cars?”. How stupid do you have to be? As Karren so rightly put in the boardroom “you don’t have to have been to France to know these basic things about the country.”
For Logic, Tom and Natasha played a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide who pitched to La Redoute (much to Lord Sugar’s disgust), Natasha won and pitched the teapot and the postcards to La Redoute. However, it was Tom’s low starting offer of just 10 units that annoyed La Redoute and lead to no sales. In total and utter contrast, Helen and Venture secured a huge 200,00o euro investment from La Redoute for the car booster seat.
This was a boardroom record, crushing Chris Bates’ teams’ record from last series, much to his disappointment on his Twitter feed. He tweeted “Noooooooooooo our records been broken!”. The more devastating news for Logic was, not only did they lose out on the massive La Redoute contract, but despite Melody’s impressive sales, Logic lost out on the smaller contractors as well.
Losing project manager Tom had a difficult decision to make. He could have bought any of his three team mates back. He decided to bring back the mono-linguist Leon and the inventive translator Melody. After a few exchanges in the boardroom, Tom looked to be dead in the water.
He struggled to get his point across against the rampant Melody, whereas Leon seemed to be fading into the background. Tom then seemed to win Lord Sugar over as he gave details of the business he had set up from scratch. His speech was enough to sink Leon and make him the latest casualty of the boardroom.
I did agree with Lord Sugar’s decision. Tom was a weak manager but has shown much more promise throughout the process that Leon ever has.
For me, the most impressive performers were Helen and Melody. Helen has not lost a single task and with her very very good pitch, she has emerged herself as a new front-runner in the competition. Melody was rampant with the sales in France and her selfish, winning attitude impressed Lord Sugar. Another highlight this week was the look Melody gave Zoe as Zoe praised Helen in the house afterwards. If looks could kill, Zoe and Helen would be dead
Lord Sugar did give his usual speech, talking about the beginning of his business. “When I started my business at the age of 18, I had to do…”. A classic Sugar one liner.
What did you think? Did you agree with Lord Sugar? Should Tom have been fired? Was Melody right being that selfish? Send your comments to all the usual places, Twitter @naspearing, the blog itself and on my blogs facebook page (which you should like if you haven’t already). Check out more Apprentice content on the official BBC page and read the official blog.