Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Smell Of success

Tonight I make the executive decision to dispense with the striding, the suitcases, the belligerent boss bit. Still that took as long to type as it does to watch.

Last week it was all about exercise. The teams were told to invent a piece of portable fitness equivalent. James Bingo Buster was a great idea (better than sexercise) but sadly it became an evil box of doom that even Ben slapping his arse couldn't sell. Debra was busy being right on sister but the team did come up the body rocker that looked almost like a real fitness product. Maj got fired. Just like that.

We open with some nice peaceful ducks and London porn. That doesn't sound right somehow....

The phone rings, the fish look worried and Kate answers the phone. She is dressed head to toe in black – whose funeral - or is she really a ninja?

Cue undressed apprentices – not very sexy, teeth brushing and Noorul in a very red vest. Phil seems to be having his make up done, metrosexual indeedy. [I'm thinking this series' trend of women answering the phone in their pyjamas will make a lot of people very unhappy. We all know it's supposed to be men in pants - Rad]

The cars take them to Kew gardens, not just a park, a leading botanical research centre. In the temperate house the very drably dressed candidates gather. Paula is wearing a dress that makes my eyes go blurry.

This week is all about natural body products. Its a lucrative market worth more than 3 billion in the UK alone and its not just women spending the money its men. The task is to produce 2 natural body products and sell them to the public. The teams are mixed up, Yasmina, Debra and Paula move to Empire and Howard and Kimberly move to Ignite.

Sralan decided that as he has been 'quiet' (slight understatement there) Noorul will be the Ignite team leader. Paula will lead Empire.

It's simple the team that makes the most amount of profit will win. The one that doesn't will lose and from that team one of them will be fired.

Sralan VT about needing good profit margins and keeping the cost down. Make it for pennies and sell for pounds.

Paula is happy with her team and on her way to Dorset dismisses some of the other team as weak. In her VT she says she shouldn't be dismissed by anyone just because she comes from the public sector.

VT Noorul – He is not here to be managed by people, he is a natural leader. Right-o. In the Ignite cars Noorul seems confident with his team as Phil wears make up, so he was having his slap done by Kate first thing then. Phil confirms he has 'a fair grasp of the market'.

Poole in Dorset in the mad scientist lair aka an industrial estate, o the glamour. Ben is taking a back seat? Really? He doesn't buy soap? What even after all that time he spends in the gym? They should be aiming for women he says. OK so sit there and be quiet then. No? Thought not. They quickly decide on soap and shower gel.

Ignite look non nonplussed – er soap and bubble bath? O everyone is very fired up! Much puffing up of cheeks and eye rolling and blank stares (and that's just Noorul).

Each team need to select a natural ingredient to use in their products. Empire are liking seaweed (and with mint?) Ocean fresh and all that. Paula acts like a team leader and quickly makes the call in favour of seaweed. James suddenly trying to be team leader reminding Paula about cost. You were in charge last week love but I fear your words may prove prophetic. Paula asks for Ben and Yasmina to keep her on track with costings.....

Over at Ignite Noorul goes into teacher mode and tells them not to talk at once but hey at least they are talking. Phil thinks apples and berries are awesome. Howard VT – Noorul is already struggling and they are off to a shaky start.

Paula sends Debra, James & out on a boat to pick seaweed. In the 'lab' Paula, Ben and Yasmina are doing their best Chris Lloyd impression, mixing and sniffing. [Those bottles looked like Lush ones - at least the font - Rad] Ben pours water in to a pan. This impresses Yasmina, 'look at the chemist' she coos to Ben who retorts he has 'DNA level chemistry'. I assume that's a good thing?

Paula mentions cost again, someone could sit down and work out how much its going to cost. That's a good idea, that, Paula. A very good idea.

Ignite have now decided on honey and Lorraine, Kim and Phil are dispatched to get stung, er collect honey from local bees, but they don't know how much to actually get. While Noorul and co prat around deciding how much, the 3 in bee keeper suit get very stressed and squeally and basically COVERED IN BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES.

Why would you go get in the kit and stand by the hives until you know how much you want?

Back on the beech with Empire they collect seaweed and are scared of crabs. They have a huge bucket of seaweed and then call the lab. 300 grams is all they need as Paula says it will be an 'infusion'. James is knee deep in crab shit – it looks like water to me.

Mr Simon the perfumer is here to help with fragrances. Yasmina and Paula sniff little strips of cardboard and pronounce one unfortunate concoction smells like Tequila and dog. That would make lovely shower gel? Surely the more they sniff the less they'll smell. Ben is still on his 'girls know about soap and shit but I'm a MAN so will stay here doing my DNA level chemistry'.

Sandalwood £1200 per kilo and Cedar wood £26 per kilo and Yasmin and Paula can't get that straight. O dear. I replayed this bit and Paula says sandalwood and lavender, then cedar wood straight afterwards. Simon asks her to clarify and she says sandalwood Hmmm. Simon thinks they got a bit confused. No shit Sherlock. [The man from Lush, sorry, the anonymous smelly things business place, could have actually said something here. It was a bit unfair. Also, watching it on replay - totally Yasmina's mistake - Rad]

Paula and Yasmina sit down to work out the cost. Not only can they not tell the difference between cedar and sandal neither can they tell the difference between 3 grams and 3 percent. £1.97? That's all you'll pay? Round it up to a fiver? Hmmmm

Kimberly in charge of brand identity. She is a marketing director. She wants to call the honey soap 'Honey I'm Home' [which sounds very Lush - Rad]. Phil says she must have big splinters in her arse from sitting on the fence. I am paraphrasing. He gets a bit shouty and says she is stressing him out but I am not 100% sure what she's done to annoy him.

Paula does the Empire branding. She has chosen 'Rock Poole', which is clever as all the ingredients are from Poole. I like this. Debra thinks so too but she also picks up the huge expense of Sandalwood – no it's OK she's told we only bought half a gram. Er no – 450 grams actually, Yasmina is just pouring a huge beaker of it into the bubbling vat of Georges Marvellous medicine. Maybe she thinks that's what 3 grams looks like. Nick purses his lips.

Nice bit of Lush product placement. [I knew it! - Rad]

Team honey's concoction looks much more appetising but maybe too much like food. The print deadline is looming and Kims' team need a batch code. She is asking Noorul for it when Phil snatches her phone and gets more and more angry and Geordielike sounding and tells her and everyone else to get some balls. She's going to give him balls apparently and as she's at ball height, he better be careful.

Lorraine tries to diffuse the situation and the poor graphic guy timidly points out he's done at last. [I felt sorry for the graphics guy - I always feel sorry for the graphics guys on this show - Rad]

Phil is going to roast Noorul (Mags agrees Noorul is shit) if they fail. But it's OK because the profit margin for Empire isn't going to be healthy is it? Lorraine apologises to poor graphic guy for being so argumentative and unprofessional. [And is kind of unprofessional in the way she phrases it too, but the ticked-off mother aspect was funny, so I'll let her off this time. - Steve]

Empire are boxed up and ready. Now they just need to work out the actual cost per unit so they can price up. 87p per item all in? Having stalked round the periphery, Nick feels his moment has arrived and asks them how much they think they spent on fragrances. He tells them they bought 450 grams of sandalwood Yasmina is non nonplussed, 'no half of 450 grams – shit'. Indeed. Kate's face makes a perfect pink O and the penny drops with a resounding clang. 'Would it surprise you to learn you have spent more than £700?' continues Nick. Paula yes you may well look stunned and yes you are shit at costing, but good deflection on to everyone else. Nick having dropped his bombshell and 'leaving it with them' stalks off. Surprised he has told them!

Next day they all try out their products. Queue more shower scenes but still nothing interesting to report on that score.

Paulas' team are doubling their prices, as well she might (but it would have been funnier if they didn't know.) The soap is beautifully packaged with little labels tied on - seagrass?

Honey soap sounded good but the reality is sticky. It sort of gloops out of the wrapper. It feels nice says Mona, 'slippy and smooth' which is not going to be much a USP for soap really.

The team have 8 hours to sell their products. Half of Empire are based at Portobella market – right next to a hot dog van. One smells nice and one doesn't. Other half at Bond Street tube.

Ignite are at fashionable Carnaby street – in Bee Keeper outfits. They are selling theirs as sets for a fiver and now its called Honey with Love. The rest of Ignite are doing brisk business at Camden Lock. Selling the softness as 'freshness' which is smart.

Lunch time at Portabello James tries to stick a bottle of bubble bath in someone's face. They justify the price by saying how expensive the sandalwood is, a fact surely engraved on their very hearts now and the trendy Notting Hill set are not put off by the price. Nicks looks happy with them.

On Carnaby Street the bee-keepers are happily selling. Well except Noorul – no sale. The sweet smell of success eludes him and the honey can't hide the whiff of desperation. O dear sweepy.... Noorul pulls out of Carnaby Street *snigger* sorry and gets lost. He decided on Bond Street Tube station, hardly a prime selling location as already discovered by Empire who swiftly moved on.

Empire has steady sales so James suggests upping the price by 50p which somehow feels like a shitty thing to do but that's probably because I am not a good capitalist. [I thought they were selling it pretty cheaply even after the price rise, if you compare it to the prices of Lush and similar - Rad]

Noorul's decision to move has badly back fired. People don't want to stop.

At Camden Lock 'customers are melting away' and half the stock unsold so Kim, Howard Phil call Noorul and ask to start selling for £1 but Noorul says 2 for £3 till he gets there. Phil can't believe it and neither can I. Its a bit late to try and impose his authority on the situation and for once I can understand Phils frustration. [I get why they were doing this, but I'd be scared of buying something so cheap for fear of what it would do to my skin - Rad]

Portabello the last dash – Ben is selling very well for a man who thinks soap is girlie. [Ah, but selling is MANLY, GRRR. Or something. - Steve]

Noorul is stuck in traffic on his way to Camden. He shushes Lorraine and Mona is pissed off. Howard begs to be allowed to use his discretion and Noorul finally gives in.

Paula's team sell all their remaining stock to a stall holder. Wins. OK I am actually impressed, I think I have done a total U turn and now want Empire to win. They have come up with a product I would buy and done their best to recover from their huge fuck up. At least Paula has been involved with her team.

Lorraine starts trying to berate rockers to buy honey stuff for his mums. Has he been buzzed? That's a bit personal where I come from. He runs away as well he might. Even Phil thinks she's being scary. Finally we are flogging at 2 for £1 – suddenly I think Paula's team might have got this in the bag – thanks to Nick's heads up. They sell out - somehow that feels profound.

London Porn

Showered, washed and perfumed, it's time for an appointment with Sralan.

The usual opener of 'were they a good team leader?'

Phil and Howard enjoyed working with Noorul. Mags comments that enjoying working with someone and them being a good team leader aren't the same thing. She hands Sralan Ignite's products like they are dirty nappies. Phils confirms they are, in fact, luxurious. Noorul starts to list the contents but SA says it sounds like a bladdy cocktail. Noorul as a chemist and science teacher should know how to make soap shouldn't he?

On the Empire side of the table, James and Ben put the boot in straight away and I am surprised (more fool me) because I thought they had all worked together to try and overcome the small miscalculation. Rather than answer the question Ben already tries to start blaming Paula for the costings. Sralan tells Ben to not read out half the bladdy magna carta and Ben shushes.

And so to the all important figures:

Ignite have sales of £900. 85 They spent £406.88 making a profit of £493.97

Empire had sales of £1073.20 but they spent £1141.24 leaving a £68.04 loss

Damnit I was rooting for them. If they had only gone for cedar wood. Nick laments that if only Paula and Yasmina hadn't confused themselves and opted for cedar wood, they would have made a profit of £598. Ouch.

Sralan says her keeps banging on about controlling cost, what's going on? What's going on is they don't listen.

Noorul's team wins and the prize is a sushi and sake evening. Making and eating. Nice. Fishy fingers. Noorul declares they 'absolutely destroyed the other team' - Noorul you did not destroy the other team – you just fucked up less. Phil quips 'whose he going to sake-e?'


In loser cafe, Paula insists she delegated costs to 2 financial people and it wasn't done properly. But wasn't it her and Yasmina choosing and working it out? Kate says they should have costed from start to finish. Paula mentions that 'Ben did come over and have a sniff' again that has different conitattions to me but I assume she means he gave the costings a cursory glance. Shes probably going to take Ben and James in then? Ben will 'rip her to shreds' if she tries apparently.

I like Paula's hair by the way. I wish mine looked like that.

In the boardroom Sralan comments that he likes the products far better than the honey shit produced by Ignite. Kate gives credit to product and packaging to Yasmin and Paula. But it's a good product at the wrong price. Paula's 'fragrance for a fiver' comment comes back to bite her bum. Ben was too busy mixing to do any more than take Paula's word for how much it was all costing. He says 'yeah I should have been doing costing but I was like making stuff and Paula said it was a fiver and stuff so it's not my fault'. So even if its a problem with costing and I was meant to be doing it but its not my fault., Nick points out he was only 3 metres away. 'Yeah' says Sralan, 'you weren't in Scotland.' Indeed.

Debs reiterates that if they had chosen cedar wood not sandalwood Sralan feels that the product was good and that's all down to Paula. He compliments Paula on the presentation, in particular the soap and Ben jumps in that was him, so basically everything was him, comments Sralan, except the costings.

Oh, she's bringing back Yasmina and Ben. Interesting...

Ben looks at her like he actually will rip her to shreds.

Sralan suggests they hang on to some of their lovely soap because if they think they are sweating now they soon will be.....

Paula knows how to work out redundancies on a calculator says Sralan menacingly. So why couldn't she work out costings for a bar of soap?

Paula reiterates that she nominated Yasmin and Ben to take care of costs and that she would oversee them. That translates as, 'yes I asked you to do it and then I tried to do it myself and and THEN I remembered why I wasn't doing it in the first place.'

Paula calls Ben 'an idiot' for not checking her costs. Want to talk about idiots he says? This bit is verbatim because I don't like Ben but this is a pretty impressive smack down:

B: 'We're talking about idiots now? Well lets talk about £5 and £700 if you want to talk about idiots (Sralan's eyebrows disappear into his hair line) at the end of the day you made a complete balls up of it, you two were the two responsible for the cock up with the fragrances, you were the project manager, you were the one who should have been going on about me getting involved with the costings if you wanted me to and -'

P: 'I asked you to'

B: 'If you let me finish (because I haven't quite obliterated you) and the next day I sold my bloody heart out for you just to do damage control.'

P: 'The cost of the fragrances was a cost, it wasn't a cost on its own. I asked you to look after costs and you didn't' (eh?)

I don't like him but that's pretty persuasive. Sralan looks shocked that Ben managed to construct a comprehensive put down.

Ben says fire Paula. Yasmina says Paula too but puts it but slightly nicer. Ben tells Paula she 'didn't just get it a bit wrong, she got it very wrong'. Paula brands Ben a bit of a thug and so he drops in his scholarship to Sandhurt because this relates to his ability to sell how? That is bound to score points with Sralan – not. Neither is him interrupting Sralan's summing up. Why do they never learn not to do that? It is rude anyway but just stupid in this situation.

Yasmina has gone 6 steps forward and 10 steps back, its not looking good which of course means she'll have to be project manager another day. O Sralan is getting tricksy!

Paula is deemed ultimatley responsible for the fatal mistake and fired.

Hmmm why do I suspect that Ben is this year's Tre? He isn't going to win but he is such a villain that we can all hate so he'll be around a bit longer mark my words. [At least Tre was occasionally funny. Ben's more like Sophocles or Paul Torrisi, and just typing those two names makes me feel a little gross - Rad] Still Ben can't shut up, 'talk any more and you'll talk yourself out the door'.

If only.

Coat watch – black and a coat. O Lucinda how I miss thee let me count the ways!

In the cab Paula says she's gone for making mistakes and not lying or cheating. Therein is the problem. Going on past series that's what clinches you the win isn't it?

Back at the crack den Mona is quite upset and Yasmin for a moment seems genuinely sad she had to turn on her 'mate' until she adds she'd do it again to any of them because now she knows she can.


Next week Pirate Parrots, a giant smurf, healthy breakfast cereals and Sralan has one of them for breakfast. Yes folks, it's the TV ad episode.....


Anonymous said...

I did think Surallan was a bit harsh on them about not controlling their costs - they did TRY. It's not like they just forgot about. Obviously it's a massive fuck up, but it's not because they forgot about the bladdy costings, it's because they did them wrong.

I did like Nick's little 'right, I'll be off' just as they descended into backbiting. Such a bitch

Fiona said...

Agreed. I really felt they tried everything they could to recover from the mistake.

Patrick said...

I think he actually said "a D in A-Level Chemistry", and not "DNA Level Chemistry".