Episode Five Apprentice – A dog’s dinner

The title of this blog I have copied yet again from my sister-in-law who when she wrote this as a summary on Facebook I thought she had got it in one.  The marketing episode of this years Apprentice was truly a dog’s dinner.  A very apt summary from my sister-in-law.

It was the marketing task this week.  This episode should be my favourite though it never is as every year they get it so wrong and forget the fundamentals of marketing.  The task this year was to invent and brand a new dog food for one team and cat food for the other. 

I knew the task was doomed for Vincent’s team when asked who the dog food was aimed at he replied EVERYONE!  Jim a supposed marketer then jumped on the band wagon and came up with the brand name “Every Dog” suitable for yes you have got it every dog.  I immediately tweeted and shouted at the TV (yes how good at multi tasking am I?) my dog is not every dog he’s unique.  And it is the same with dog lovers all over we all think our dog’s are unique as they are to us so why would we buy a product called every dog?  Not only that but at their focus group the vet pointed out you can’t have one size fits all for dogs as quite simply they all have different needs and requirements.  But oh no Vincent knew best and he stuck them too the path that I knew very early on was going to lead to failure.  I did feel sorry for the members of his team who tried to point this out particularly Tom who wasn’t privy to the advice from the focus group but just knew that they were taking the wrong route.  Yet again the losing team were brought down by their failure to think of the most important person in marketing – THE CUSTOMER.  And I was right too what did the marketing expert from the agency say?  Yes he pointed out that dog owners think their dogs are unique not every dog’s.  I tested it out on my ten year old daughter today as well.  Would she buy a dog food called Every Dog?  She gave me a withering look and said no because yes you have got it our dog is unique!  So if a ten year old can get it why can’t supposed business experts on the Apprentice?

I had to laugh when Vincent showed off his marketing skills with the 4P’s that I mentioned last week.  Product, Price, Place and Promotion.  As if by saying the words without going through the process of discussing each of them in detail ticked a box. 

What can I say about the promotion the TV advert was ok but what did they do to that poor labrador to make him gulp down his food at the rate he did?

Moving over to the winning team.  I have to admit I am not a cat lover in fact the opposite as a child a cat came into our garden wound its way round my legs and then well I will just come out with it.  The cat peed on me and I have disliked them ever since!  Daft I know but there it is.  However I do know like dog lovers that cat lovers love their cats!  So I thought the approach of this team was correct they thought through the needs of their customers.  What issues were they and how could they solve these issues and came up with a cat food that helped reduce obesity and made your cat look alive and healthy.  They were let down it had to be said by their TV advert which to me looked like any other advert I have ever seen for cat food.  But their packaging was great, as was their concept and I knew they were the winners and they deserved it.  Though I didn’t like Glenn’s approach to leadership but he will learn!

So for the first time ever this series I knew who the losing team were going to be from the start.  Then I got it wrong I assumed it would be Jim in the board room and I feared Tom would be taken in as the scape goat and as a tactical move.  I was right that Vincent would use tactics but what tactics.  Protecting his friend Jim and bringing in instead Ellie and Natasha.  I presume he thought Ellie would go as she was in the board room last week and hasn’t exactly shone through the series.  So you could see as she was fired that he thought he had lived to fight another day!  But wrong as my jaw dropped, my phone fell to the floor with the shock!  Lord Sugar turned to Vincent and sacked him too.  Best part of the series so far and right decision Lord Sugar in my humble opinion.  But why oh why haven’t you asked any candidate so far what their business idea is?  Plus since you are no longer looking for an apprentice but a business partner does the programme need a change of name and a change of focus?

So that was the 2011 marketing episode.  Maybe not quite as funny as pants man!  But very cringy yet again think my job’s safe for now.  However please, please 2011 Apprentice candidates remember the customer they are the essential part of every task!

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About fionadranesblog

40 plus mum of two married with a mad cocker spaniel. Along with two colleagues run Bright Light Marketing a rural marketing agency who specialise in getting rural businesss noticed. www.brightlightmarketing.co.uk. Live in St Boswells in the wonderful Scottish Borders. Love books, walking and living life to the full here in the Scottish Borders though its sometimes a juggle!
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2 Responses to Episode Five Apprentice – A dog’s dinner

  1. Fiona. Love your blogs. In awe of anyone who can raise a family, dogs and other animals I believe and also have a career. Have subscribed to your blogs. We have also started blogging and getting involved in social media. Still in learning stage!! I have a great PA Kirsty who helps me with all of this who starred your comments on twitter . We have great debates on the Apprentice too. We had high hopes for Jim but he is losing ground rapidly!! We now have no idea who will win!! Roll on next week.

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