The Apprentice: Advertising

“Happiness is not the natural state of mankind, and is never achieved from the outside in.”

Terry Pratchett

I wonder what you could tell about someone from the contents of their iPlayer Downloads folder?

Mine, for instance, contains the first episode of World’s Greatest Food Markets, which features convicted Cockney salesman Roger Barton trying to flog stuff to Americans, and the seventh episode of The Apprentice, which features Cockney ex-salesman Alan Sugar sending some hapless “entrepreneurs” off to try to flog stuff to Americans.

Apparently I am fascinated by Americans buying stuff.

Actually, this week’s episode of The Apprentice involved both teams trying to market a new soft drink in New York. For reasons best known to the Almighty Lord Sugar, this involved a ridiculously contrived scenario in which half the team had to stay behind in rainy Luton while the others went to America without them. Since I assume you can come up with a brand just as well in America as you can in Luton, and ALS and the BBC are hardly short of cash, the only reason I can think of for this little piece of theatre is to generate some tension.

It works, too: Sanjay remains bitter and annoyed with the rest of Summit as he’s left behind to design in Luton, and Desperate Daniel fails at branding Tenacity’s product and proceeds to blame everyone for leaving him behind (despite the fact that previous episodes have proved that you should never, ever, allow Daniel to pitch anything). Both, it has to be admitted, have a point, but their continued sulkiness throughout the episode only highlights how intrinsically irritating they are as people.

Other than that, the show predictably continues to spin into ludicrousness as ALS decrees that he shall pick the best marketing strategy (oh, how nice for you, Alan), Summit comes up with an energy drink named Big Dawg (hilariously, this already exists in America), and Daniel persists in Not Being Fired despite the fact that he is clearly impossible to work with. Looking forward to employing him, are you, Alan?

Oh, and the quotes. They are too good to pass over, so I shall make a List.

  1. Mark: “I wanna be project manager SO BAD.” Really, Mark? Really? So much, in fact, that you backed out of PM-ing the last task?
  2. ALS: “I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you today, I got caught up with business elsewhere.” Sure, Alan. You’re too important to be on national television. We get it.
  3. Nick descibes New York as “the Big Apple, where things are Big.”
  4. ALS: “They say New York is the city where nobody ever goes to sleep…” I’m sorry, Alan, who says this, exactly?

It occurs to me that The Apprentice would only be half as much fun if I didn’t have the Internet to bitch about it to afterwards.

But then my downloads folder would be far less eclectic. So, you know, swings and roundabouts.

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