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Image Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBCHi Apprentice fans, and welcome to my blog for week #4. I am excited to have you all following me on EW.com, Twitter and Facebook, and I hope that you are enjoying this season so far. This week, things were getting a little vicious in the boardroom, so I am sure that you all enjoyed last night’s show!
Breathing the Same Air
As you may recall, Tyana won last week’s challenge and was rewarded with the fantastic opportunity to meet with Russell Simmons, hip-hop legend, entrepreneur and owner of the Phat Farm mega brand. I know Russell personally and he has always offered terrific business advice – he even penned a section of my book, The Trump Card. He is truly a diverse and gifted entrepreneur, and a natural mentor – Tyana was very lucky to meet with him. In their meeting, Russell gave Tyana some good points for success – to have a plan, write it down, and execute on it by finding people who like and support your ideas. While it seems simple, it’s an effective blueprint for any successful business. Russell’s second piece of advice was unique and inspirational – he told her to remember that she breathes the same air as billionaires, and then presented her with an envelope from my father. Inside was a $10,000 Calvin Klein gift card. Wow! When Tyana left Russell, she was walking on air for some very good reasons.
17 Billion Quarts
17 Billion Quarts. I couldn’t believe this statistic, but that’s how much popcorn is sold each year—it’s obviously a big business! Popcorn, Indiana is one of the country’s top selling popcorn companies, and we invited the company’s CEO, Hitesh Hajarnavis, on board for this task assignment. As a fan of The Apprentice, he was very excited.
Marketing is a huge part of selling popcorn and accordingly, Hitesh directed the teams to create a guerilla marketing stunt to be made into a video. The video with the best potential to go viral on the Internet would win. To help judge the task, we asked Charlie Todd, one of the hot shots of the viral video world to join us as well. Charlie mentioned the “crazy,” high-impact videos that have had enormous success on the Internet, garnering many millions of hits. This task assignment would definitely be scrutinized by the best. As someone who likes to communicate with my fans through social media, I thought this task was incredibly relevant to how brands market today, and I was looking forward to seeing the results.
Wade or No Wade?
Clint was the Project Manager for Octane. Although Wade had declared in last week’s episode that he would volunteer as Project Manager, he later explained that he had decided to decline as Clint was very eager to be the PM, and he didn’t want to cause any conflict or division on the team before the task was even started. Mahsa was chosen as Fortitude’s Project Manager. Based on her attitude over the past 3 episodes, she was sure to be controversial and outspoken!
Will This Pop?
As many of you may know from using YouTube and other video platforms, the most crucial element of a viral video is to attract significant attention and very quickly—within seconds—on the Internet. The concept of ‘guerilla marketing’ is to surprise, and the teams needed to focus very strongly on being as creative as possible.
On Octane, they had fallout to deal with — David broke his tooth on a bagel and had to have emergency dental work, so they were down a member. I don’t know if that was a pro or a con for the team, as he had been very disruptive and had succeeded in sabotaging James last week. In my opinion, Clint may have been dealt a lucky card with David’s absence.
On Fortitude, personalities continued to clash. Tyana was accused of complaining a lot, which is incredibly distracting in any work environment. Mahsa declared that she was there “to be the boss.” And so, Mahsa and Tyana continued their battle – not a good start for the women’s team.
See You at the Gym
Fortitude decided to shoot scenes of people working out at the gym and managing to eat popcorn at the same time. I was dubious of this approach, as I didn’t know if it had the potential to catch ablaze on the Internet. It seemed a little mild, disconnected and overall, not an exciting concept. When Tyana voiced her opinion to say that the concept didn’t seem “guerilla” enough, there was a lot of tension, causing Tyana to distance herself, and Mahsa to get territorial as a Project Manager. Don noticed that Mahsa seemed to be very much in control—maybe too much. It seemed like she wanted her chance to lead, and didn’t want anyone else in her way. In my opinion, this was very isolating and definitely not the most effective team approach.
On the men’s side, Octane finally functioned well as a team and consequently, their video approach was more successful. The men decided to “harass people” in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, thereby causing popcorn fights to erupt, and even stopping traffic. While hitting people with bags of popcorn ran the risk of being perceived as violent by the client, the effect was lively and made for good footage. I thought it had all the elements of a good viral video.
When Hitesh and Charlie reviewed the two videos, their comments for Fortitude’s video were that it was a clever idea, but that it didn’t go far enough. I definitely agreed. Regarding Octane’s video, they felt it was spontaneous and created an event feeling, but that it was a bit violent. However, they felt Octane’s popcorn fight was definitely superior in creating a stunt that would garner attention.
Octane won the task. For his reward, Clint will be meeting with Steve Forbes, one of the business greats of all time. I’ll be anxious to hear what Steve has to tell him!
For the women, the boardroom was brutal this week. Fortitude was definitely divided, with Mahsa calling Tyana “evil” and “the biggest and weakest member of the team.” When Mahsa declared herself to be tough, my father pointedly said to her, “Don’t say you’re tough. People who say they’re tough are the least tough”. If you are going up against my father, you’d better show your strength rather than talk about it!
In the end, however, it all came down to who had the better video – the women’s was not a guerilla stunt, but a commercial. In looking at who should have stepped up, Tyana was critical of the gym idea from the get-go, but she failed to come up with any ideas of her own. Instead of looking for or offering a solution, she added to the problem instead. She made no viable contribution to the team or to the task, and so she was fired.
Tyana has a lot to offer, she was a great competitor, and I’m sure she’ll be successful. I hope that she will keep Russell Simmons’ advice close at hand. I wish her the best.
Enjoy your weekend, and I look forward to seeing you in the Boardroom next week!
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