The Apprentice: Bianca Miller shines and Mark Wright struggles in this New York-based instalment (Spoilers)

by Matt D
Lord Sugar Nick Karren

Lord Sugar Nick Karren

For long time Apprentice viewers, such as myself, one task we always anticipate is the one in which the candidates get to travel abroad. Who could forget the team who tried to sell mass-produced cheddar to the French or those who struggled to find a Kosher chicken in Morocco. Probably because the budget is a bit tight this year, only six of the ten candidates were allowed to go to New York whilst the other four had to remain in London. As you can imagine this caused plenty of infighting within the teams and led to accusations that the wrong people had been assigned to the wrong locations.

The reason for the trip to New York was so the teams could advertise and pitch a soft drink; which the subteams in the UK would be making and branding. After last week’s boardroom shenanigans both Mark and Lauren were jumping over each other to be project manager. With Mark lying about a background in advertising, the team picked him over lawyer Lauren who claimed to know the New York market like the back of her hand. I believe that Mark’s first mistake was in separating his team, especially when he decided to take two lawyers; Lauren and Felipe, over to New York with him. Even though he is yet to prove his prowess, I felt that Daniel would’ve been best utilised in a selling capacity while Felipe could easily have joined Katie in the UK making the drink. Over on Summit, project manager Bianca chose Solomon and James to go over to America with her however a despondent Sanjay wasn’t happy with this decision and made his feelings known throughout the rest of the task. As it was later revealed that James used to work in a bar, it appeared as if his expertise would’ve come in handier on the UK team but then again I believe he would’ve thrown his toys out of the pram had he not got to go to New York.

Sanjay and Bianca’s arguments continued as he and Roisin struggled to brand their energy drink, which James had criticised the taste of. Eventually James came up with the name of Big Dawg, an initially ridiculous suggestion which grew on me as the episode continued. I think Big Dawg worked as a name due to the fact that it fit in with the ‘everything is bigger in America’ ideal. Meanwhile Tenacity’s healthy vitamin-based concoction of pineapple, raspberry and lychee was the sole brainchild of UK team Daniel and Katie. The fact that Mark and company didn’t offer one single suggestion to the UK team suggested to me that they were happy to make them look like the fall guys if they were brought back into the boardroom. Their drink, eventually named ‘Aqua Fusion’, appeared pleasant enough but didn’t really get a strong reaction from the New Yorkers. Back in the UK, Daniel and Katie’s decision to make the logo a yellow on yellow design was a disastrous one, primarily as the title was obscured by the bright colouring.

The Apprentice Felipe

Another element of the task which Apprentice fans will lap up is the creation of the respective teams’ adverts. In the past, adverts on The Apprentice have nearly always been disastrous and tonight’s offerings didn’t disappoint. Summit’s ad for Aqua Fusion at least looked half decent; with Lauren playing a daughter to a mother who gave both of her children a bottle of the drink before they left the house. The always great Felipe was behind the camera here and got utterly frustrated as the day went on, especially as Mark was peering over his shoulder the entire time. Bianca on the other hand had an odd vision for the Big Dawg commercial which included Solomon and two Americans talking about how much the energy drink improved their lives. When it aired for the first time, the advert looked incredibly amateurish due mainly to the fact that there was no backing music.

The pitches themselves, which were done to a room full of industry experts, ranged in quality and were accompanied by exerts of the other two team members watching from The Apprentice house. I felt that Bianca’s pitch was the first time in which she really stood out as a contender and she certainly proved she deserved to be in the competition after a couple of shaky weeks. There was no surprise when James tried to make himself the centre of attention but thankfully Bianca kept him on a short leash for the majority of the pitch. Mark delivered a confident pitch however Lauren was less assured which is a surprise seeing as how great she was in giving the tour a couple of weeks ago. After both pitches, the assembled audience members conferred with Lord Sugar; who ultimately had the say over who won the task.

The Apprentice Lauren

It was quite clear that Summit had one the task with the only negative attribute of their campaign being the video. Meanwhile, Tenacity again knocked up a confusing product with a dodgy label and a name that didn’t appeal to the New York market to which they were pitching. As the majority of the failure of the task was down to the actual branding, I felt that Mark should have brought Katie and Daniel back into the boardroom with him. Instead, he chose Daniel and Lauren presumably because both had been in last week’s bottom two. Although Lauren did deliver somewhat of a dodgy pitch, I don’t think the failure of the task was particularly down to her and Mark’s only reason to bring her seemed to be that he didn’t know what she did. Again the Daniel and Mark feud continued with Lauren just sitting there letting them go at it and hoping one of them would make a fatal mistake. However, going with his gut instinct, Lord Sugar let go of Lauren which I felt was a big mistake.

After seeing that the candidates were going abroad this week I felt that this would be one of the best episodes of the series. However, I personally found it to be a bit of a letdown and even the adverts weren’t as amusing as they possibly could have been. The biggest problem with this episode was that a worthy candidate in Lauren was let go as the producers seemingly want to see Mark and Daniel tear shreds off each other another week. If it were me, I would’ve got rid of Daniel weeks ago and all I can say is that he must have one hell of a good business idea to survive three boardroom showdowns.

What did you think to tonight’s episode of The Apprentice? Was the right person fired?

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