The Apprentice semi final: Adam Corbally turns to jelly, Tom Gearing & Ricky Martin fail to wow, Jade Nash makes drunken treats!
With one week to go, it’s the last chance for the candidates to earn themselves a place in the final. The candidates are summoned to meet Lord Sugar at Burlington Arcade, tucked away in London’s West End and home to the finest in luxury retail.
There, Lord Sugar greets them and explains their final task:
“This is a famous arcade; I suppose you would say the original shopping centre. We are in recessionary times at the moment but there’s still a great market for luxury products, the key is they have to be affordable luxury products. Your task this week is to create an affordable luxury product range and then you’ll be presenting to industry experts, and here’s the bad news, and me, what your business model is all about.”
Lord Sugar moves Tom to join Ricky on Sterling before appointing Adam as Project Manager for Phoenix.
The team that comes up with the best idea and business plan will win, and in the losing team one candidate will be fired. Which team will create a premium product and who will fail to impress Lord Sugar and the industry experts?
ADAM TURNS TO JELLY
With Adam appointed by Lord Sugar as Project Manager for Phoenix, he is confident that his team can win the task. They decide to create a luxury confectionary product range, with Adam agreeing that they should focus on chocolate, and they pick the name Sweet Thing.
Whilst Jade heads to the factory to create the products, Adam and Nick visit a high class Chocolatier for market research. Karren, however, is left disappointed with the boys’ behaviour, stating, “Adam and Nick had a wonderful opportunity to meet a businessman who has created a fantastic bespoke shop, to help them put together their business model. What have they spent their time doing here? Eating chocolate. They failed to grasp the opportunity.”
After they are advised of the popularity of high end jellies, Adam is convinced that they are the way forward, and when Jade calls to discuss the product range he insists, “I really want to go for the jellies…jellies are the new big thing, it’s going to be big.” Nick and Jade both raise concerns about this, with Nick explaining that he doesn’t feel that they need them, but Adam believes that all the products tie in together and insists on the inclusion of jellies. Afterwards, Nick worries, “I think where Adam and me have maybe disagreed is the inclusion of jellies. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to include them but it could maybe detract a little bit from the focus of tour task.”
Later on, Jade suggests making the jellies alcoholic and naming them ‘drunken jellies’. Adam is unsure but doesn’t have any other ideas. Nick takes the opportunity to again question the inclusion of jellies in the product range, stating, “I’m a bit worried about our brand because we’ve got so many different products, it just seems very random.” Adam, however, ignores this and eventually agrees that they should create the ‘drunken jellies.’
TOM AND RICKY FAIL TO WOW
Ricky nominates himself as Project Manager on Sterling, which Tom supports, and the two decide to opt for a male grooming product range. Watching over proceedings, Nick Hewer concedes that it’s a suitable product range for the pair to pick, “they’re the right sort of age group to know all about that sort of thing, and looking at them, with their sort of hair gelled quiffs, they obviously have a personal interest in that particular sector.”
Eventually settling on the product name, Modern Gentleman, Ricky heads to the cosmetic factory to make the male grooming products, whilst Tom takes charge of the branding and design for their prototype shop. At the designs studio, Tom panics that the branding he has designed is boring and not exciting enough, saying, “it’s a bit safe”, but decides to go ahead with it in the end. Observing, Nick Hewer explains the importance of getting this branding right, “get that wrong and people turn up their noses.” Tom plays it safe again when it comes to designing the store, deciding to decorate it with charcoal grey and use dark woods.
Opening their store the next day, Nick Hewer voices his concerns about the pair’s creativity, stating, “Ricky and Tom, where they are very strong is on the analytical side, the business side. But when it comes to being creative, I think that they really are pedestrian. The retail space seems to have hardly anything on display. It was their view that they should go for a minimalist look and they certainly achieved that, it’s like a closing down sale or something.”
Both Tom and Nick Hewer’s doubts seem justified when a visiting customer comments, “in terms of the retail space, it seems very dull. I think it could do with some excitement. The colour schemes on the labelling are also very very conservative.” Another customer is clearly on the same wavelength, feeding back to a disappointed Tom, “I’m not sure I like the branding to be honest. It’s not distinctive enough, it’s too bland.”
Back at the house that night, Ricky has clearly accepted this criticism, stating, “One of the biggest mistakes I think we have made is the packaging.”
BOTH TEAMS FEEL THE PRESSURE WHEN IT COMES TO THE PITCHES
With both teams more than aware that winning this task means a place in the final, the pressure is higher than ever when it comes to the pitches, especially knowing that Lord Sugar will be in the audience.
Tom and Ricky decide to stay up late and work on the structure of their pitch, with Ricky commenting, “this pitch couldn’t be any more important to us, we’re this close to the final.” The next morning, Ricky explains that he was unable to sleep as he was running through the pitch in his head all night. The pair continues rehearsing backstage together when they arrive at the location where the pitches will take place.
Also waiting backstage is Phoenix, who also recognise the importance of delivering a good pitch, but Project Manager Adam reveals that their concerns are more about self-preservation, stating, “it’s the final hurdle now and its every man for himself. Its written all over everyone’s face, everyone’s here for themselves now.” This seems to indeed be the case when Adam, after writing notes on the palm of his hands, suggests the team practise together, which falls on deaf ears.
Both teams face tough questions in the pitches and the industry experts give mixed feedback to Lord Sugar.
Will Tom and Ricky have a close shave in the boardroom? Will Adam’s team experience the sweet taste of success? Who will make it through to the final? Tune in to find out who will be next to hear Lord Sugar’s immortal words: You’re Fired!
Next episode: Sunday 3rd June, 8.30pm on BBC One