Thursday, 14 May 2009

Summer gays , drifting away

Previously on The Apprentice... Our hapless heroes thought they were going somewhere exotic but they went Oop North. Mona didn’t go for any of Sralan’s ace leads put pulled off some awesome negotiations. Lorraine’s team picked some rubbish items and Philip, Ben and Kate couldn’t be arsed to sell anything. In the boardroom Philip was a dick, Lorraine snitched on his relationship with Kate, Kate wiped the floor with both of them and Philip was fired, which was a joke. According to Philip.

It's 5.10am(!), and NotFrances calls. Mona, barely awake, answers the phone. The cars will be with them in half an hour and they have to take an overnight bag. Sunrise over London porn.

This week’s tenuous venue is the Millennium Dome the O2, built ‘about ten years ago’. Yes, Sralan, for that big thing that happened ‘about 10 years ago’ called the millennium. Anyway, it rebranded successfully (allegedly, although I defy anyone to see a picture of it and not think of it as the Dome first) and so they’re going to rebrand Margate. Considering the wealth of creative brandng talent on show so far this series, I bet Margate can't wait. They're surely kicking themselves over Philip's firing last week when he could have come up with a wonderfully inappropriate concept this time around as well.

The teams have two days to come up with a ‘marketing makeover’. In team one, everyone wants to be the manager, especially Howard, but Debrabarr tells him he can be the subteam manager if he wants. I can't work out whether she's incredibly harsh here or just incredibly awesome by deciding she's PM and not engaging in any debate. It's pretty forceful, whatever.

In team two, Yasmina and Kate are wearing matching waistcoat/tanktop combos. Yasmina wants to be PM and everyone else agrees.

Mona apparently knows Margate well and says ‘it’s all about families’. Which, yes, it's a seaside resort, that stands to reason. Howard and James say that’s not rebranding. Howard asks how they feel about the gay market. Mona says she’d rather go with families but the others want to actually rebrand as per the task remit, so the gays it is. Mona PTCs that Kent is not a place for the gays and no gays are in Kent. Kent says no to gays!

Over in team two, Lorraine says with the ‘economic downturn’ (drrrink) more families will want to holiday in Britain. The team quickly agree to sell to families.

Lots of London porn and twiddly classical music.

In team two’s car, Lorraine is working a Jenny Celery-esque scarf and discussing things with Ben and it’s all rather amicable. It's actually quite amazing how the dickwipe quotient in that car has decreased by about 110% (drink!) since Philip left - even though it still has Lorraine AND Ben in it.

Mona and James discuss how they need to find out what’s going on in Margate.

Team one – Empire, apparently – are casting for their models. They have two men and Howard asks if they’ve ever done any same sex modelling? They say no. Howard then gets lots of boys to touch each other up for his and Debrabarr’s pleasure.

Margate, we are told, is ‘just another faded seaside town’. Cue lots of shots of broken glass and boarded up shops. However! Margate needn't be sad, as the candidates will fix all of this! Or! The producers have just dealt the Margate tourist board a nasty blow.

Mona and James talk to the locals and say they want to rebrand Margate. The locals say ‘that’s our job’. They mention attracting the gays. The locals are all well up for it, but Mona keeps trying to talk them out of it. Kent is up for the gays after all!

Yasmina and Kate, still in matching outfits, audition for the ‘perfect’ mum and dad. They get people to flash their legs and chests. These auditions are really just an excuse for a good old perv, aren’t they?

Ben and Lorraine are looking for something to make Margate special and attract young upwardly mobile (hello 1987) families. They settle for a nice shot of some rockery in what’s either a park or a crazy golf course, I can't really tell, with a view of the sea behind. Ben VTs that Margate is hardly the Seychelles. He comes up with a slogan ‘shellebrate family fun’ and phones Y and K with this. They lol and are all ‘NO WAI’. He then says something about it being the epitome of British culture and they LOL some more. Lorraine suggests seeing it through children’s eyes and they are up for that.

Mona talks to a pre-op transsexual and asks if Margate is for the gays and then asks what her sexuality is. She is told about waiting for the op and asks so ‘are you a boy or a girl’ and says 'you can't tell' (which: you could tell a mile off, sorry) seems rather shocked by the whole thing. Oh, Mona. The complete horror of this exchange doesn't work so well in recap but it's essentially something only to be watched through the gaps in your fingers.

James phones back and says everyone’s thought it was time to move on from the blue rinse brigade, and they’re onto a winner.

8am, the morning of the photo shoot and it’s all fogtastic. It will be interestinf to see if Sralan can blame then for the bladdy weather in the boardroom. I wouldn't put it past him. Lorraine and Ben call Yasmina in a panic and she’s all ‘get a nice shot, we want background with lots of space in’ and not really getting the whole weather situation.

Over at team gay, five models are pretending to be lesbian and gay. The lesbians are clearly in a three-way setup. Progressive! Not only is Margate embracing the gays, it's embracing threesomes! Brilliant! Mona asks them to pose. James hangs on to a pole-dancing pole. Nick says it’s all looking a bit stiff and wooden (heh) and they’re not getting much direction. I'm not entirely sure why Howard isn't in team Margate, as being the creative one, it would seem to make more sense.

Ben is taking control of team nuclear family and making lots of square ‘framing’ gestures with his fingers to show he knows what he is doing, right. It's all very Michael Sophocles, film director, except even crapper, which I wouldn't have thought was possible.

In London (because there are no design guys in Margate, clearly), Yasmina lays out her leaflet, whilst Debra and Howard are struggling with their posters – Howard thinks there’s too much text and there should only be four words. The design guy sits and stares into space. Debrabarr's, all 'I dunno, four words isn’t many'. Howard says you’re not listening to me, which, no, she’s just not convinced, Fishy. At this point I assume they'll come up with a compromise, you know, more than four words, but less than oooh, let's say ten. Let's see whether this happens, shall we?

James is taking a shot of two ‘gay’ men with ice-creams and says ‘not too much suggestive licking guys’.

Ben is back ‘framing’ again and says ‘none of this horrible stuff; more of the sea, less of Margate’. The Margate tourist board put their collective heads in their hands. Lorraine thinks the shots are too boring (families sitting down) and wants an action shot with them jumping for a beach ball. In London, Yasmina receives the photos and bitches that they don’t have enough empty space for the text. Ben rings and she says ‘Ben you dickwad, where’s my empty space? And you Lorraine’. Lorraine’s all ‘you don’t put text on photographs in posters’ which: when was the last time you saw a poster, Cassandra?

Debrabarr and Howard have a discussion. Debrabarr suggests comparing Margate to Manchester and Brighton, as the next big gay destination. Howard says ‘thought you knew about Margate?’ It all seems very civil.

Yasmina asks Lorraine what she thinks of the poster. Lorraine says 'I think the photo should be the centre'. Yasmina says 'we need to finish it and then talk about it afterwards'. Lorraine’s all ‘that would be too late, numpty’. They then have a big fight. We see the poster and it’s a random image of a child and parent doing pottery with a slightly random font choice - a nice font, but rather formal for a child-oriented thing. Kate tries to bridge over the troubled waters a little.

Team gay aren’t convinced by their leaflets because they don’t have enough content and the design guy doesn’t have enough time to get all the content on. It’s not clear whose fault this is. They leave a big space in the bottom right hand corner, which Nick points out and they decide they have to leave it. In the taxi, Debrabarr says she’s pissed off they didn’t finish the leaflet. Howard asks if there’s an image, a colour, anything in the gap. Debrabarr says no, they left it empty. Howard pulls the face of one who knows they've just lost.

They now have to pitch to ‘industry experts’ and the people of Margate. First to hear the pitches are two industry chiefs and a tourism expert.

Kate’s team show their posters and Kate gives a reasonable presentation that sounds confident and mentions how they played on the British weather. One exec asks if they took their logo off, would they recognise it as their campaign? They say yes, the blue is key, the ad execs say, well not really. The logo is a wave with margate on, and the design is all blues and whites, which is quite nice, but it all looks rather formal rather than ‘fun’.

Howard pitches for team gay. He starts by asking ‘do you know Margate?’. One exec withers ‘yes’. Their posters are ridiculous and I can only deduce that their graphic designer is either a fake, or hates the gays/the candidates, because regardless of the 'creative direction' of the candidates, no graphic designer worth their salt would even contemplate something that looks like this. They've used ugly as hell fonts and a nasty beige colour that all looks so amateur, and there are several paragraphs of text on each poster, although some of their photos could be nice if used differently. Essentially, it looks like a year eight poster produced in a PSE lesson to promote some sort of 'issue'. Howard fudges the blank on the leaflet saying it’s for adverts. One ad man says ‘posters should be under 10 words, yours has 70’. One ad lady says ‘your leaflet isn’t finished, is it?’ Mona says it’s a work in progress, and really, just hold your hands up and say you ran out of time.

Pitching to Margate. Kate pitches through children’s eyes. Slogans say things like ‘see the children enjoy themselves’ and ‘award winning sandy beaches’ which seem more parent-oriented to me, but, hey. One lady says Kate’s pitch was ace but the leaflet image looks like an oil slick and she thought they might offer something different. A man says it’s solid, safe and pedestrian, they want to promote arts and culture and there’s nothing there. Kate says some nonsense about long-term strategy and this being the first campaign in a lengthy rebranding. Oh Kate, you know how this show works by now, and longevity is never a factor (except when offerng exclusivity on other people's products like Princess Lindi and The Best Salesperson in Europe).

Howard says people associated Margate with dull, grey, old people and the camera pans to some older, grey haired officials. Ooof. Howard explains their publicity better than he did with the execs. A woman says nice pitch but dreadful visuals – we can’t read the posters. Howard says, yeah, you’re right. The man who told Kate they were safe then tells them off for limiting the marketing just to the gays. What the hell does Margate want? Howard says where the gays lead, everyone else follows.

Boardroom time, and there’s a shiny blue screensaver on NotFrances’s desk to match the shiny blue lighting and shiny blue eyes. Mona is now wearing Kate and Yasmina’s shirt/tank top uniform.

He asks Ignite how they came up with a family theme. Yasmina says they had a bit of discussion. Sralan interjects as to why she was PM. She says they all wanted her to do it. Sralan: hmmm. Sralan asks about their ideas and the others try to claim they had some brilliant ones. They go on about children liking the beach and Sralan points out there weren’t any children on their rather arty beach shot. Surprisingly, Lorraine doesn't bang on about her unused beach ball photo here.

He asks who put themselves forward as Empire team leader. Debrabarr says she and Howard wanted to. Sralan asks how did you decide? Howard says they agreed on a compromise. If compromise means Debra telling you what you're doing, then sure. Howard explains they chose the gays because it was all about rebranding. Sralan says yes, but your marketing sucks. Howard says ‘we had some clear points’. Sralan says, yes, very clear and shows two blank sides of paper. Fail. He asks Debrabarr who was weakest on their team. She says James and Mona.

The marketing people marked the teams out of 10. From the Margate jury, Team gay: 4; Team nuclear family: 7. From the pro jury, Team gay: 4; Team Nuclear family: 7. It seems to boil down to them having nicer looking publicity and an actual slogan, which is fair enough, even though they didn’t really do any rebranding, and if they'd lost, you just know Sralan would have taken them to task for this. They win some fast car driving, which is probably a bit more fun than laughter yoga. James almost cries.

At the car track, Ben has an orgasm to the camera and they all whoop a lot. Last year's apprentices collectively shudder as watching the fast cars evokes the memory of the supercar task.

In the café of doom, Mona says the fail was because Margate hates the gays (even though they clearly love the gays as we all saw). She then asks if Debrabarr only left an hour for the leaflet. Debrabarr says we wanted to wait for you. James says we lost because our leaflets and posters were shit and turned around in five minutes. Trufax.

Sralan says they made a bold statement about going for the gay market, then whispered the message. Howard says ‘we didn’t want to alienate people’. Sralan says the people were all up for the gays, you just sucked. Sralan says the posters were confusing. Margaret says they should have one big picture and only ten words. Howard says they wrote too much text. Sralan says who wrote it, you or her? Howard and Debrabarr say they both did. Sralan says Mona, you live in Kent, so why didn’t you give them hints? Mona says yes I live there but Debra didn’t listen [to my homophobia]. Sralan says Nick and Margaret say Mona doesn’t have many ideas and where’s her creativity? Mona says she found locations and spoke to a gay, which must mean she's creative and progressive, right? James says she was inappropriate at times. Mona says it was because she was uncomfortable with the subject. Mona says she didn’t agree with the concept. James says whatever your own opinions you need to leave them aside and get on with it. James has come a long way from the doofus of the early weeks, hasn't he?

Sralan says this leaflet isn’t finished. Debrabarr flusters and Nick says you said it was designed for advertisers. Margaret says they didn’t like being lied to and it blew the trust between advertisers and clients. Sralan: 'you’d have been better off saying to them…' Debrabarr: ‘I had Mona in my ear for 15 minutes and couldn’t get on?’ Sralan: 'exactly'. James says he and Howard had no responsibility. Mona says she and James were shocked that nothing was done when they arrived. Debrabarr says the Margate team weren’t creative enough. No-one takes any responsibility. Debrabarr: is it just the images and text that were wrong? (Well, no, it;s the lack of them in the case of the leaflet) Sralan: maybe it’s you. Debrabarr’s bringing back James and Mona. Sralan says you couldn’t bring Howard back because he did loads, although he was also with the 'designer' so I'm not entirely sure he should escape all culpability.

Margaret says they didn’t get a lot of support from the team in Margate, Sralan says Debrabarr needs to think on her feet more and stop lying, although surely you end up lying if you think on your feet too much?

He asks James for a rundown as he hasn’t had much time to talk to him in recent weeks. James says Debrabarr is a bulldog and difficult, but at least she's consistent, whilst Mona blows hot and cold. Debrabarr says Mona wasn’t up for it. Mona says ‘why did I talk to a gay person if I wasn’t?’ Debrabarr says they gave her limited ideas. James and Mona said she thought their ideas were great. Sralan asks who was responsible for the lousy posters. James says Mona was responsible for 15 minutes and Debrabarr for six hours. Debrabarr says I was sat in front of the computer but I needed my team and I wish I was you two sat out eating fish and chips. She and Mona fight a bit.

Sralan tells Mona she sits in the background and doesn’t do anything. Mona says ‘with all due respect Nick and Margaret are not always there and don’t always listen'. What's with the candidates trying to hate on Nick and Margaret this series? Sralan says she just says what she thinks people want to hear. Sralan accuses James of also taking a backseat. James says he doesn’t. Debrabarr asks what he did. He says he sorted out all the photos and didn’t have time to look at the posters. Sralan says he’s playing a clever game to make sure he doesn’t get brought back into the boardroom. James says if he’s looking for someone who says yes Sralan no Sralan three bags full Sralan, that’s not him, he's not a knucklehead. Unfortunately James, that's exactly the kind of person Sralan wants in his organisation.

Sralan says Debrabarr is bossy and can’t afford that in his organisation (but she'll be a good one to come second, or to go out in the rottweiler stage). He says James is a court jester, but he’s not looking for that, and with Mona he doesn’t see any creativity and has to think abot where she would slot into his oh-so-creative organisation. He thinks she might be right at the end of the pier in this process. Mona, with regret, you’re fired. He’s going to keep his eyes on James. I'm not getting why Sralan still hates James so much. I mean, he sucked royally at the start, but he's seemed pretty competent recently, and everyone else seems to like him.

Coatwatch: boring black but with a fetching green scarf. Note to other candidates: if you must wear boring black coats, accessorising is the way to go.

In the cab we hear that Sralan was wrong because Mona’s a stronger candidate, but she’s not going to cry over it.

Crackden apts. They’re not sure who will be back. Lorraine really likes Debrabarr but thinks she’s gone. Ben hopes it's James because to send back the weakest would be an ideal situation for him, because he knows he's going to get fired soon anyway. They return and Debrabarr says she’s ace so she knew she wouldn’t go, and she thought James would go before Mona. Ouch.

Next time: the candidates scare small children at a baby goods sales fair.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Because I'm sad and anal I have to point out it was James who came up with rebranding Margate as gayland, not Howard.