One of the joys of watching The Apprentice is when a particular task takes the majority of the candidates out of their comfort zone and these tasks often involve creativity of some kind.
This week provided the perfect example of this as the salespeople and market traders alike had to sell street art to both the general public and a separate corporate client that had be laid on by Lord Sugar. Star of the show here was fruit and veg man Adam Corbally, who had no clue at all what he was doing as the first time he’d seen street art, was when the teams were gathered at Waterloo Station in a tunnel full of graffiti. Adam came up with some of the best lines of the series tonight for example when he found out that nobody knew who Banksy was he equated this mystery to that of Top Gear’s helmet-clad driver The Stig, also later thinking a medium was somebody who contacted the dead rather than something an artist worked on.
What Adam did have was a sense of naivety with his lack of knowledge coming of as endearing to both the artists and later the customers as he gave his own interpretations on the artwork. Adam’s team this week was led by Tom Gearing who here came across as a trendy man-about-town who seemed to know a lot about street art, probably as he buys as much pieces as he can in order to impress the ladies when he gets them back to his place. The other team leader this week was Gabrielle, who as we’ve learned is very creative but sometimes it’s at the price of actually understanding the task, however she reassured the rest of Team Sterling that she’d participated in gallery openings in the past which gave her the valuable lesson that you have to keep plying your customers with drink just remember that for later on guys.
Apart from Gabrielle though the rest of Team Sterling seemed as clueless as Adam, as they were asked to talk up the paintings as much as possible and fawn over the artists in order to get their pick of the bunch. Ricky and Nick were sent to Bristol, as were Adam and Jade on Team Phoenix, but debated on how corporate they should look eventually deciding to lose their ties in order to create a more personable look, to be honest though I didn’t really notice. The Bristol-based artists were Copyright, who both of the teams loved, as well as SPQR who created anti-establishment works that the teams found a tad too controversial. Back in London the remainder of the teams visited the corporate clients to find out what it was they were looking for Tom it was Renault who he dealt with very professionally and did the pitch almost single-handedly with Laura adding the words ‘bang on trend’ at some point during proceedings. In fact Laura’s contribution throughout the task was woeful seemingly consisting of her smiling, nodding and agreeing with everything Tom said. Over at Beefeater Gin Gabrielle and company were less successful with Steven spouting out the corporate jargon while Gabrielle did her smile and forgot to ask what their budget actually was.
The differences between the two project managers were in their dealings with the artist known simply as Pure Evil, whom both teams wanted to represent. As much as I’ve praised Tom over the weeks his one flaw here seemed to be that he was too practical and not enthusiastic enough as he chatted with ‘Mr Evil’ about different street artists that he’d heard off instead of enthusing about the art. Then there was Gabrielle who talked about what she liked in the paintings rather than what she thought the influences were as well as generally coming across as someone who’d do a good job selling your paintings. It’s was no surprise to anyone, apart from Tom, that Pure Evil went with Team Sterling as Gabrielle participated in an unintentionally hilarious segment thanking the artist over and over again.
With Pure Evil out of the door Tom decided to represent Copyright as well as James Jessop a man who painted large 12 foot canvasses of large green monsters and New York skylines however once again it was Adam who summed it up perfectly saying the people who bought Jessop’s work had to have both big wallets and even bigger front rooms. Ricky and Nick meanwhile were unimpressed that Team Sterling had picked Nathan Jessop as the artist to pitch to the gin company as they’d already seen his artwork and didn’t think much of it to be fair they had a point as the squiggly workmen and beefeaters weren’t my cup of tea either. Talking of Nathan, Gabrielle convinced him to do a live show at their gallery however Steven thought way outside the box telling his project manager that it would be a good idea for their star attraction to do his painting where nobody could see him but thankfully she talked him down. In fact I feel Steven was the thorn in Gabrielle’s side this task over-ruling her on several occasions as well as not having the right tone when it came to selling street art to trendy suburbanites. In addition Steven was tasked with meeting the Beefeater Gin folks, who ironically weren’t given a drink by Gabrielle when they came in, so in his infinite wisdom he neither explained Nathan’s art or introduced him to his other team-members with Karren Brady describing this perfectly as a way not to treat corporate clients. I’d go further to say that Steven’s pitch was almost incomprehensible as he seemed to keep starting sentences without finishing the one before and if he’d actually written down what he was saying, I’m sure spellcheck would inform him that he was conversing in fragments and that he needed to consider revising. On the other team Tom was the consummate professional meeting the Renault clients with drinks and putting over Copyright as sexy, elegant and chic.
Tom’s pitching combined with Adam’s smooth sales technique should’ve seen a win for Team Phoenix but instead Sterling won by £137 despite not getting a deal with the Beefeater Gin company. I have to say this reminded me of the exercise task as I feel the wrong team lost here with Sterling making a catalogue of mistakes from Steven’s hard-sell, to not finding out the budget of the gin company to Jenna not really doing anything apart from making her hair look nice but somehow they pulled through. The focus of the attack seemed to be on Tom for not securing Pure Evil and then deciding to go for James Jessop instead however for the most part he was making all the decisions himself. I think the mistake that was made was when Tom set himself out as an expert of the genre everyone else sort of took a backseat and thought that they’d be able to win it. Tom made the right decision overall sending top salesman Adam back to the house while Jade and Laura accompanied him into the firing line where he at least impressed me with the reasons why he should stay.
Once again who should be fired? Well Tom made the one decision that may’ve cost them the task namely choosing James Jessop as I think Pure Evil would’ve chosen Gabrielle over whoever had done the pitch. Adam claimed this demonstrated that Tom was a bit wet around the ears but at the end of the day he was the only one who was making decisions while both of his female team-mates did nothing of note to warrant them staying in the contest another week. Jade could go this week as she could’ve fought a bit more for SPQR however she still sold more than her project manager so I think she’s safe. Though I’ve got it wrong most weeks I think Laura will be going simply for the fact that she offered very little opinion throughout and sold the least out of anyone in her team. For me Laura should’ve gone last week and she seems to have been keeping her head down ever since she was last in the boardroom however with Lord Sugar having reasons to fire both of her fellow candidates this again is a close one especially as I was sure last week that Jade should’ve gone.
Even though he was the losing project manager Tom still impressed me with his maturity, he only left university two years ago, and was able make basically every decision for Phoenix even though his gamble didn’t pay off. Adam’s also improved after almost being fired he’s understood the game now and even though, in the words of Lord Sugar, he came into the process like a bit of a nutter he has certainly developed into a contender. Conversely Steven seems to be going the other way his ideas becoming wackier as the week’s progress however his eccentricity really makes me want to see his business plan. Finally for those of you wondering it seems that the price of pure evil was around the £10,000 mark so indeed the loss of this man did cost Tom the task and possibly his place in the contest.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Who do you think will be fired? Leave Your Comments Below.