Saturday, 18 June 2011

Mag Men (and women)

Week 7 Transmission date: 15 June 2011

Last week’s episode was rubbish (ho ho). £6 separated the teams but thanks to the holy influence of Saint Helen, Logic earned their first win. Leon did nothing yet again, and avoided the boardroom yet again, whilst Zoe and Susan fought yet again and Edna was fired for no real reason other than Sralan didn’t really like her, she had an MBA and she hadn’t fulfilled her crazy potential so there wasn’t much point in keeping her on. At least she left in a pink pashmina.

This week! 5.45 am and a sleepy looking Melody (fully dressed and in eye make up though, so either she didn’t bother getting changed from the night before, or she’s a very quick dresser) answers the phone. They’re heading to Fleet Street and all the candidates think it’s to do with newspapers or media. I have to say, this is a somewhat logical location. Somewhat, anyway, given newspapers don’t really get made there now and I’m not sure many magazines ever did. They head to a building where Rupert Murdoch’s media empire once was before it crumbled and all that was left is a great glass elevator - or something, given we’re not told what the building actually is these days. Sralan tells the candidates that in this new age of newspaper decline the biggest thing to get into is free glossy ‘premium’ magazines, which “the industry” call freemiums. If this is true, then I snort at the industry. The candidates have to make one. Fun task but I think making a free newspaper would be even funnier (come on, it has to beat thelondonpaper. And the Grimsby Target). [I quite liked thelondonpaper. It was better than the Evening Standard, though I realise that's hardly a ringing endorsement. - Steve]

Jim is moved over to Venture and Leon to Logic. They haven’t lost good luck charm Helen, so let’s see if she can go for an unbroken run of wins only to become the Naomi/Miriam competent female pointless evictee come shopping channel week. The teams have to get advertising space. In the car to meet the ad agencies, Helen says they need to be prepared to sell their souls and make any old rubbish mag if it’ll appeal to the advertisers. Over at the ad agency, we meet the boss, and a bit of my soul dies a little when he is revealed to be Mike Soutar. Mike Soutar of Smash Hits! Ver Hits! Mike Soutar worked there along with Alex Kadis (bloke or ladybloke?), Sylvia Patterson, Sian Pattenden, Mark Frith before he became a tedious ‘celebrity’, and Kipper Williams on the cartoons in its glory days. Those journalists were my heroes dammit. OK, so he ruined it somewhat by editing a lads’ mag – but at least that was a magazine. Advertising wouldn’t be so bad if he created the adverts. But you don’t, do you Mike? If I’d ever won a Black Type tea-towel I’d be weeping into it now.

He tells them if they’re going to create a hit launch they need to understand their readers (except no-one’s actually going to read this, are they??) and meet their print deadlines.

Over at Team Cunt (aka Venture), Jim and Zoe meet – apparently it’s the first time they’ve worked together. Logic are led by Natasha. Tom wants to do a cute baby mag and that would have probably had the effect on me that the kittehs had on Steve, but Natasha wants to go for a lads’ mag, because they’re ‘for lads, yeah’.
Jim (Venture PM) is leaning towards over-60s. He says it’s a big market. We see him in a pre-recorded video interview saying he can take people’s hearts and minds and make them do what he wants them to do. A+ for the editors on that one. Zoe thinks the over-60s is challenging but seems to like something else. Glenn likes it. Susan has a face like a wet weekend as usual but goes along with it.

Logic flick through FHM. Tim thinks it’s a bit gross, Helen doesn’t think Mercedes Benz would advertise in it. Natasha says ‘porn sells’. Helen tries to say something about professional men but Natasha’s all BORING! TITS! ARSE! YAY! Surely there are enough paid-for mags doing this without the need for a free one?

Susan and Glenn are on the way to a bowling club to meet some old people. Susan wants to ask ‘what do you guys do?’ Glenn: ‘Bowl’. Heh. They have a focus group with some of them. One reads The Economist, one Viz. They all point out that normally over 60s wouldn’t touch magazines for their age group as it makes them feel old. One woman says she wants things that will suit their lifestyle – holidays, skiing etc. Susan: what about things to train your brain BECAUSE YOU ARE SO OLD, like crosswords? The woman: Absolutely not! And no knitting, either. Glenn suggests humour. They throw some names at them, including ‘Free 60’ ‘vita life’ (another lady: it’s like something I’d feed my cat’. Did she miss the bus to last week’s focus group?) ‘First Lady’ ‘Eternal’ – the older people think their ideas are stupid and Susan’s a patronising young upstart. I mean they were too polite to say it but that’s what they were thinking. The men laugh and say you want to face it head on so how about ‘Zimmer’. Susan fails to laugh along. She really has no rapport with any actual grown-ups, does she?

Logic have a focus group with lads. Helen and Tim lead it and the guys want a magazine with a higher tone. Helen phones back and says they were interested in the idea of business and making money, not tits. She tells Natasha they want tasteful and naked-free. Natasha’s all. Nah, tasteful isn’t a USP. We want to be like every other lads’ mag out there. That’ll be what makes us unique. She asks Helen to shoot names at them. They go for Covered. Melody likes it. Natasha’s like BOOORING.

Glenn and Susan ring back and say the focus group hated the names and they need to be satirical. Zoe: Coffin Dodgers? Glenn: Pension Mention. Because that’s HILARIOUS and not at all weird. Jim: I don’t think we should mention pensions. Heh. Glenn: Old Boot? The Old Soak? Susan: What’s a term that you call an old person? Jim: Golden Oldies? Susan then tries to be all poetic and looks to the sky dream-like going ‘young-hearted. Old looking but young hearted’ whilst Glenn’s all young at heart, young at heart at her. How is it that these two so misjudged the focus group, when Zoe got it straight away and she wasn’t even there? Zoe suggests being hip or ‘Hip replacement’. Jim jumps on this, despite it being a rubbish name. Glenn likes it and Susan sulks. She asks if it’s a bit too sensitive. Jim asks if they’re all on board. Susan says no but she’ll support it anyway. Zoe says it’s needs to be about 60 being the new 30 and getting fit and active, getting into fashion etc.

Leon is doing a front cover with a drawing of a stick man suggests they have innuendos like ‘how do you blow your load?’ Natasha loves it. She wants the cover to be a ‘dirty secretary’. Helen asks if it’ll appeal to their target market, thinking of the focus group. Natasha ‘well, what we’ve got to remember is our focus group was focussed’. Er? She basically ignores the focus group as have all apprenti in every series ever. The photo shoot is a woman in a bikini, business jacket, hard hat and straddling a surfboard. Not sure of the logic here. Karen looks all ‘this is a feminist fail’ and tells the camera that the advertisers won’t want to stand next to anyone in a bikini. Um?

Susan asks her models to ‘do something spontaneous, like ‘Woah’’. They look like they’re posing for catalogues. There is a potentially interesting shot of them boxing, but Glenn goes for a boring hugging shot. Zoe and Jim look at sample layouts. Zoe likes a kind of funky angled one. Jim goes for a static conservative cover. Zoe worries that they’re straying from the brief and taking the irony out of it. Jim says ‘I’m just playing with it’.

Natasha and Melody go into the street asking men how they blow their load. Most of them look rather frightened. Leon takes a photo of a man’s boxer shorts but HE’S NOT GAY REMEMBER?

Jim tells the designer to put articles on the cover about insurance and holidays. Zoe sulks. Melody decides she suddenly loves working on a lads’ mag. Natasha tells Tim and Helen they’re going with ‘how to blow your load’. Helen and Tim are all ‘no, that’s gross, are we not raising the tone?’ Natasha’s all ‘no, sorry, bye’. Natasha’s not exactly leading a team here, is she? It’s just her own ego trip.

Venture are talking about who will pitch. Glenn says he just pitches when he’s there and Susan says she’s never pitched before. Jim thinks the team should be more enthusiastic? Sour Susan, Sulky Zoe and Gormless Glenn, enthusiastic? Wrong team, Jim. They all volunteer him.

The magazine proofs arrive. They’re both quite well designed inside with rather dull covers, and both the complete opposite of the mags the focus groups asked for. They’re on the way to meet the media buyers who will be buying advertising space.

First buyers – Carat. Leon pitches and says it’s nice looking at naked women [OKAY LEON, YOU'RE HETEROSEXUAL, WE GET IT - Steve], but they want to focus on the money aspect. The media buyers say it’s a crowded market but Logic say they’ve got articles about making money so that’ll stand out. They all know their figures in terms of the advertising space – Natasha says the back cover ad will be free if the buyers purchase all the advertising, at a cost of £103,000.

Jim pitches to Carat. They hate the title Hip Replacement. Jim says the demographic don’t want to be patronised. Carat asks their prices. Jim says it’s on the rate card. Carat say we don’t use the rate card, we negotiate. Jim says they won’t negotiate. Oops. Susan remembers Nick wants her to be their Cassandra so says she’s worried they’re being too tight about the prices. Jim doesn’t seem to understand.

At Mediacom, Logic are bitching about who will pitch. Helen thinks Leon did well last time. Natasha says alright, but she is ‘uber, 110% (DRINK!) taking the last one’. Natasha then tries to pitch all over Leon and it’s incredibly messy and rude and horrible and reminds the ad agency that ‘we are a lads mag, yeah?’ The ad agency lady says their spend has massively gone down because people don’t understand lads as they are now. Natasha doesn’t really understand this but does offer to drop her prices to £1500 a page after the lady balks at them.

Jim’s pitch this time is much more assured and confident. The woman says she bought into it, but isn’t keen on the name and thinks their articles are a bit patronising. She asks if they’ll be willing to do £2000 a page and they say yes.
Melody suggests they do a softer pitch. Natasha says no, because they’ll get raped (well, she says they don’t want to drop their pants for them but it equates to the same thing). Ugh, Natasha is vile. She then pitches to the third agency, Maxus, with a ‘yeah’ as every third word. The advertisers asks how men will feel about ‘blow your load’. Natasha’s only response is ‘it’s a lads’ mag, yeah?’ They say it’s like they’ve gone back in time to the 90s and the magazine will offend about 80% of men. Middle advertising man looks like he’s about to burst – and it doesn’t change when Venture come in. The lady at this ad agency says they have someone in a CARDIGAN, although they like the travel feature. The agency identify a gap in the market and suggest they get a 50% discount. The agency say some people give away advertising for free. Jim says he preferred 50% and they end up going for that. Jim’s been really unconfident in all these pitches – so much for his Jedi mind tricks.

Boardroom time, and Natasha looks smugger than the tea shop and organza ladies from shopping week put together. She tells Sralan that it’s a Lads’ mag but with business. Sralan ‘like the FT with a swimwear section?’ He asks Helen and Tom about the focus group and they tell him what they wanted. ‘So then you made THIS?’ Natasha says advertisers could be people selling ‘alco-ho’ – I do not want to know what that is – and strip clubs. Tim and Helen cry that they tried to make it classy. Sralan likes that they did a feature on last week’s task.

Jim says that everyone on their team wanted over-60s except Susan who sat on the fence in case the idea was rubbish and she could use being against it as her defence in the boardroom. Sralan says the Hip Replacement joke doesn’t really work. Nick says they came up with some ropey names like Pension Mention and Coffin Dodger. I liked Coffin Dodger myself, it seemed to go with the focus group, but there we are. [I liked Coffin Dodger too. If you had the right editorial approach, you could in theory make it work. Not that I would trust this batch of lamebrains to get it right. - Steve]

Figures. Maxus didn’t like Covered but spent £9000 anyway. They took £12000 for Hip Replacement. MediaCom thought Covered was dated but took £7500 and £16850 on HR. Carat hated HR and bought nothing, but they liked Covered and bought every page for £60,000. Sralan says he doesn’t like Covered’s front cover, but they win, so they get to go fencing. I’m glad they got a shitty prize because Natasha was a dick (A BIG ONE. COS SHE’S A LAD INNIT. YEAH) this week. Melody kills everyone at the fencing. Sadly not literally. Natasha makes a terrible breast-related joke I won't lower myself to repeat.

Loser café. Susan pouts and swishes her hair. Glenn says they lost because of the first pitch and not lowering the prices. Jim says it was because they didn’t like the name. Susan says it was because of the market. Zoe says you can’t back out at this late stage. Susan whines that the team were opposed to her ideas. What ideas, other than ‘Old looking but young at heart’, princess? Jim tries to blame everything on the name – the name he was very keen on when Zoe suggested it. Susan whines that she didn’t like the name. Sralan tells Zoe that the concept of 60 is the new 30 isn’t in there. Zoe says they changed the font behind her back. Jim says she was there and they argue a bit. I’m not clear which of them is telling the truth although we did see Zoe arguing for a different masthead. Jim said all he wanted for the cover was ‘a young couple who are younger than their age’. Makes. No. Sense. Jim says the photo they went with was the only one they could use. Glenn and Zoe point out there were lots of other photos that Jim ignored. Sralan says the content is patronising.

Sralan moves onto the pitching. Jim says the failure is down to contribution and cowardliness, and then says a lot of percentages very quickly which make no sense. Susan says she ‘put her hand forward’ to pitch. Liar. Jim says they should stop defending against her because they’ll look like they’re shooting Bambi. Jim says OK she did say she’d do it but in a half-hearted way. Nick points out that Jim didn’t negotiate. Sralan asks why they didn’t negotiate with the first one but did with the others. Jim says they went into the others ‘more informed’ – Sralan says you realised you cocked up, more like. He then asks who was to blame. Jim says Susan, closely followed by Glenn, closely followed by Zoe. He then says ‘I was the project manager that they loved, and then led them to defeat’. Jim’s full-on lost it, hasn’t he?

Sralan, Nick and Karren talk about Jim always covering his arse, Susan being a mouse and Glenn being average. I am really hoping the winner of this series is in the current incarnation of Logic and that they are not Natasha. Or Leon.
Susan whines that she has her own business as her defence. Sralan says ‘oooh, the mouse roared’. Is Susan a mouse? I’m inclined to think of her more of a one stringed violin being played constantly. Or fingernails down a blackboard. Jim says she sometimes whispers and sometimes she doesn’t say anything at all, and she didn’t say anything on pricing. Nick points out that she did suggest they slash prices, and that she was ‘at it all the time’. In your (quite frankly disturbing) dreams, Nick. Jim says he pointed this out in the third pitch. Sralan smirks. Nick’s all ‘Susan smells of roses and kitteh’.

Sralan calls Glenn a Del Boy then says he’s an engineer. I don’t entirely see the logic here. [That's because this is Venture. Ho ho ho. - Steve] Glenn says he’s done things himself. Jim says he had to rescue his pitch. Glenn says Jim’s a control freak. Nick says he is a control freak.

Karren says he’s a passive aggressive. I don’t think he’s that passive about his aggression. Jim says he made mistakes and he feels the noose tightening on his lack of negotiation. He says Susan should be fired for being all style and no substance. Susan she says she did everything he asked. He says she didn’t pitch. Jim points out she brought no enthusiasm to the task. Susan plays the ‘I want this Sralan’ card. I am this close to stabbing my telly. I just hope she’s fired before my turn to recap comes round again. She then plays the ‘I am 21’ card. Glenn says ‘stop playing the age card’. She says when they were 21 they did nothing, unlike her. I do NOT get why people on YerFired were cheering her name later on. Alright, there are several horrible specimens of humanity on this year’s show (*Cough* Jim. *Cough* Natasha. *Cough* Zoe (although I actually secretly like Zoe)) but she is one of the vilest.

Sralan says Jim never takes responsibility, Glenn has no USP and Susan shouldn’t use her age as an excuse but he doesn’t like engineers so Glenn’s fired. Pfft. I hate Susan but even I think Jim should have gone that week. Sralan says he’s ‘saw a glimmer’ in Jim somewhere, so he’s saving him for interviews to be ripped apart, and he can’t get rid of Susan or Nick would cry.

Coatwatch: Black I think. We don’t get to see it much. Stripy scarf. Taxinterview – Glenn never failed at one thing. Except impressing Lord Sugar. At the house, they all think Jim or Susan will go. Zoe looks gutted, presumably because she was seeing Glenn at this point. Next week: the International trip! Back to Paris, so presumably the French have forgiven the apprenti for Makro cheese! Hooray!


ros said...

I was totally hoping for a Jim/Susan double-shock-elimination. Glenn was fired for being an engineer?? Because engineers never succeed as entrepreneurs *cough*JamesDyson*cough*. Yeah, right.

Though I will admit, part of me thinks that SrAlan kind of deserves to have to go into business with Susan. She'd drive him round the bend in days.

Rad said...

When you put it like that, a Susan, Natasha or Jim victory does seem more promising...

Merseytart said...

I sort of like Zoe too. She's inherited the blunt Northerner role from Ellie. Shame she has such a boring voice.

Chris said...

*closes eyes and sticks fingers in ears until people he thought were sane up until now stop liking ZOE OF ALL PEOPLE*

star_girl said...

‘Susan smells of roses and kitteh’.


And yes: Zoe sucks. Helen FTW.

Dave said...

Personally I'd pay good money to see Helen and Melody mud wrestling. Or just wrestling. Naked.

Anonymous said...

Melody 4/6 fav
Helen 7/4
Jim 5/1
Zoe 16/1
Leon 25/1
Susan 25/1
Natasha Brent 500/1
Captain Scarlet 1000/1

Anonymous said...

Who the hell wrote this? It's just a complete biased account against susan. Everything she said seems to be substituted to she whined or sulked. Susan actually seems to be one of the most enthusiastic candidates who works for the team.