Hi Apprentice Fans! The Apprentice keeps getting more surprising with each new episode. This week I was unable to participate, but my brothers Don and Eric joined my father in re-configuring the teams and watching the new dynamics between players. Some fierce competition came out and I was so excited to see all of the action…
Distributing Some Great Advice
Larry Young, the CEO of Snapple met with last week’s winning Project Manager, Steuart. Since Steuart wants to go into the distribution business, it was an ideal opportunity for him and I think that he made the most of his time. Larry advised Steuart that distribution is a complex business and something you have to stay on top of at all times. He also wisely explained that “you’ve got to believe in it, you’ve got to love what you do, and you’ve got to laugh everyday.” Larry and my father are similar in their belief that you have to be passionate about your profession in order to ultimately succeed. I think Steuart left his meeting thoroughly galvanized for his next opportunity.
After the tense boardroom last week, the claws started coming out between the men’s and women’s teams. Anand went after Stephanie for being “classless,” with Stephanie returning the sentiment. The floodgates seemed to have opened and I was wondering how the unfriendly exchanges might play out later.
Mixing it Up
Don, Eric, Terry Lundgren, Chairman and President of Macy’s, and my father were on hand on 34th Street to deliver the task assignment for the week. But first, my father had something up his sleeve — he decided to mix up the teams. Liza, Steuart, Brandy, and Clint were now Octane and Fortitude had the additions of David and Anand. Both teams would have a lot of change to contend with!
For the task, the teams had to come up with a four-page advertising spread for the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, my father’s extremely successful product line at Macy’s featuring ties, suits and cufflinks. The teams would be judged on creativity, brand integration and overall presentation of the work. Brandy was chosen as the new Octane’s PM and David, after his major comeback last week, was Fortitude’s PM.
Octane met with an early setback when their models didn’t show up. They opted to use their own team members –Steuart and Brandy — as the models instead. Good problem solving!
When visiting the team, one issue that Eric found troublesome was Octane’s advertising photo concept — Brandy on a bed in a men’s shirt – it seemed overly suggestive. (I guess the team was hoping that “sex sells?”) After seeing their concepts, Eric wondered if they had overlooked the Trump Organization’s luxury branding as a whole and were just focused myopically on the “sex” message. Although it was eye-catching, I definitely agreed with my brother and was hoping that there would be more to their campaign than met the eye.
Fortitude was skeptical of David as PM. There seemed to be dissension among the team over several issues and oddly, the biggest problem was lunch (or lack thereof). When Don visited the team, it was 5 p.m. and they were still trying to order food. I don’t even have a comment on that!
I did think that Octane’s concept of the Trump products in color and backgrounds in black and white seemed appealing. Their biggest mistake, however, was the male model’s shirt – it very obviously didn’t fit him. Not the best idea when doing a shirt ad! By the end of the task, David once again managed to alienate his team, and Anand pronounced him “a lost cause.”
Both teams gave their marketing presentations to Terry Lundgren and Cathy Glosser, EVP of Global Licensing at the Trump Organization. The presentations went smoothly, with Brandy giving Octane’s and David Fortitude’s. Both Terry and Cathy thought that the teams were creative and that the tasks were well done. While Octane’s concept was a little racy for the brand and for Macy’s, the work was strong. The comments on Fortitude’s work were that the model’s shirt didn’t fit, and that they had tried to squeeze too much product onto one page – losing the impact of the pieces. Even so, Terry and Cathy thought that overall, the teams did a good job. It seemed like it was going to be tough decision.
In the Boardroom
Things kicked off to an ok start in the boardroom — Poppy and Stephanie wore Donald J. Trump Signature Collection ties — a nice (and very appropriate) touch that pleased my father. When Brandy explained that their concept had been to accent the sexuality of the brand, my father agreed that it was a smart move.
On a different note, Anand brought up the point that David’s fascination with the male model bordered on being “homoerotic.” It was a strange comment, which didn’t matter to my father — as he always says, “It’s business, not personal.” With comments abounding, David protected himself by attacking Poppy and Anand, and claiming that they had delivered nothing to the task. Fortitude was falling apart!
Terry Lundgren decided to use Octane’s work for an actual ad for Macy’s, as he found it to be “imaginative, beautiful and good work.” Octane won the task and Brandy’s reward will be to meet with Terry Lundgren one on one, an opportunity that anyone would welcome as he is an icon in the retail industry.
In the end, the deal-breaker and ultimate loss for Fortitude was their choice of the main model for their campaign –while he was handsome, my father noticed that very clearly the shirt didn’t come close to fitting him. It was such an egregious mistake that it could not be overlooked.
Fire No. 9
On the losing team, Poppy and Anand were taken to task for their product photos being too small to be effective, which resulted in an entire ad page being rendered useless. Poppy protected herself by criticizing David’s behavior and management skills, and saying that all of the decisions were ultimately his. At the end, David had to take responsibility for the main issue — the ill fitting shirt, and he was fired. As my father said, “That’s the risk goes with being project manager.” David graciously thanked everyone for the opportunity and experience he had had. He had his ups and downs, but we all wish him the best and I think he’ll do well in his future endeavors.
Enjoy your weekend, and I look forward to seeing you in the Boardroom next week!
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